Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Pascrell/Torricelli Bill to Make Patersons Great Falls a National Park Signed into Law by President Bush

Nov 8, 2001
Press Release

Bill authorizing feasibility study becomes law, clearing way
For coveted designation for Silk City's historic treasure

WASHINGTON - Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J., 8th) and Sen. Robert G. Torricelli (D-NJ) announced today that legislation they introduced in the House and Senate respectively, H. R 146 and S. 386, was signed into law by President George W. Bush this week. The bills would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of designating the Great Falls Historic District as a unit of the National Park System. The House of Representatives and the Senate passed the legislation after hearing testimony from both Pascrell and Torricelli at hearings in both bodies.

"I am very pleased that the President has signed our bill into law, clearing the way for designating the Great Falls Historic District as a National Park. The 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," Pascrell said.

"Rather than put a velvet rope around the Historic District, we must celebrate its past and embrace its future," said Pascrell.

"Now that we have won the Presidents support for this study, the Great Falls District is one step closer to improving its national tourist appeal, which would bring more jobs and provide an energizing economic boost to the local community," said U.S. Senator Torricelli.

Pascrell's bill, H.R. 146, was introduced on January 3, and passed the House of Representatives on May 9. Torricelli's companion Senate bill was introduced on February 15, 2001 and has passed the Senate.

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.

Senator Torricelli said, "I will not rest until Paterson's Great Falls District is designated a National Park and the federal government has invested its resources to revitalize such an important pillar of American History."

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.