Movement to Make Paterson's Great Falls a National Park Takes Critical Step Forward
Pascrell wrote federal law authorizing study, clearing way for
key designation for Silk City's historic treasure
WASHINGTON - Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J., 8th) announced today that the National Park Service is set to commence a study within the next 30 days of the suitability and feasibility of designating the Great Falls Historic District as a unit of the National Park System. The federal study is required before the historic Great Falls District to become a National Park.
Pascrell had introduced legislation in the House, H.R 146, to authorize the study. Former Senator Bob Torricelli introduced a companion bill in the Senate, S. 386, which was advanced with the strong support of Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ). The Pascrell bill was signed into law by President Bush in November of 2001.
"I am ecstatic that this key step on the way to the Great Falls becoming a National Park is set to begin," said Pascrell. "The Great Falls is a powerful reminder of both our community's rich history and its endless potential, and it is highly deserving of National Park status. After much work, we're on our way," Pascrell said.
"This is about making sure we celebrate the rich history embedded in the Great Falls by embracing its future." said Pascrell.
Senator Jon Corzine added, "It is important that this project move forward because of Paterson's rich history of technological and social innovation. The history of Paterson is an important part of the history of our state and our nation. It must be preserved for future generations, and taught to future generations.''
"The Great Falls, which is the second largest Falls east of the Mississippi River, represents the best of Paterson's past, and the best of Paterson's future. I am so pleased that the effort to make this historic place a National Park has taken this important step forward," said Paterson Mayor Jose "Joey" Torres.
"I have worked hard over the last two decades to gain national recognition of Paterson's importance in our country's development. This study is a critical step in recognizing Paterson's role as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution," said Senator Frank R. Lautenberg.
Pascrell's Great Falls bill was introduced on January 3, 2001 and passed the House of Representatives on May 9.
The district has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1970 and was named a National Historic Landmark in 1976. Since 1988, the U.S. Department of the Interior has listed the district as a "Priority One" threatened National Historic Landmark. The bill sponsored by Pascrell is an effort to increase federal involvement in the Great Falls and the neighborhood surrounding this natural wonder.
Pascrell has long been involved in efforts to preserve the Great Falls and the local environs. As Mayor of Paterson, Pascrell went to Washington in 1993 and testified before the House Subcommittee on Parks and Public Lands to help convince Congress that the Great Falls area was worth protecting. Pascrell also worked closely with former U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) to secure $4.1 million in federal funds under the Urban History Initiative to restore and rebuild the Stoney Road Bridge over the Upper Raceway as well as hiking trails in the Great Falls Historic District.