A new bill which would protect the Caven Point Peninsula at Liberty State Park was moved forward by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The bill, sponsored by State Sens. Brian Stack (D-33) and Sandra B. Cunningham (D-31), would protect the area as a natural habitat and prevent modernization and infrastructure upgrades from being made in the area as part of the larger Liberty State Park Design Task Force’s mission.
“Liberty State Park is a landmark area that provides a beautiful view of many historical sites including the Statue of Liberty. This bill underscores our commitment to preserving the ecological integrity of the entire park,” said Stack.
Birds, not Birdies
Developer Paul Fireman was allegedly looking to expand his golf course into the area, an issue environmentalists say was left unprotected in the original task force bill. This led to Stack to conceptualize the legislation in the first place.
Liberty State Park Upgrades
The bill is a follow up to the Liberty State Park Conservation, Recreation, and Community Inclusion Act, signed into law in July that established a 17-member Liberty State Park Design Task Force within the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to assist with developing short-term plans to improve public use at the park.
“For far too long, Liberty State Park has been neglected, and it is time we finally put in the work needed to establish it as the crown jewel of New Jersey’s park system,” said Stack, who served as a sponsor of the original bill in the State Senate alongside Cunningham.
Additionally, Cunningham worked on improving transportation to the site from within Jersey City.
“Everyone should be able to travel to a park with ease, and with this task force in place, mobility would be improved so that everyone, regardless of their method of transportation, can easily get to and from the park,” said Cunningham.
Formal Recognition Under the Law
The bill, S-2956, would formally classify the 2.15 acre Caven Point Peninsula as a natural habitat and thus block any attempts to develop the area.
The region is an estuarine ecosystem for plant and animals. Additionally, it serves as a critical breeding habitat that lends itself as an urban environmental education resource.
“Caven Point has played an important role as a breeding ground and habitat for migratory birds, seals, horseshoe crabs, and other wildlife. This bill provides assurances to the residents and visitors of Liberty State Park that Caven Point’s natural habitat will be maintained and protected,” said Cunningham.