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Pascrell, Murphy Announce Exciting New Greenway State Park Cutting through Hudson County

Nine miles of property stretching from Jersey City to Montclair will be built over abandoned rail line through Meadowlands

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Governor Phil Murphy announced today that the State of New Jersey will use American Rescue Plan funds to purchase nearly nine miles of property stretching from Jersey City to Montclair for the creation of New Jersey’s first new state park since 2006. Rep. Pascrell helped pass the historic American Rescue Plan in March of this year, which provided billions for New Jersey to combat the pandemic and rebuild its economy through investments like this. Today’s announcement follows years of advocacy for the acquisition and transformation of the now-abandoned former Boonton rail alignment as a multi-modal transit and recreational trail corridor that crosses above both the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers.

Connecting the communities of Montclair, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Belleville, Newark, Kearny, Secaucus, and Jersey City, the park will also provide a new pedestrian route and protect our environment by providing residents with a new and convenient method to reach their destinations without the use of a car. Projects such as the new park, which encourage car-free transportation, will help the Murphy Administration reach its goals of reducing overall emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

“The pandemic has proven the value of open space,” said Rep. Pascrell. “Thanks to money passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden, the Greenway can be a stunning park for our North Jersey communities in one of the most densely populated areas in America. I am excited American Rescue Plan funds are being used to improve, expand, and contribute to public spaces. Governor Murphy’s commitment to open spaces will be life-changing for our state. I look forward to continued investments in our communities.”

“This project has been years in the making, and I am proud to be the Governor to advance this dream to being a reality,” said Governor Murphy. “This new park will be a crown jewel of our state park system, providing much-needed recreational space to New Jerseyans and out-of-state visitors, while revitalizing and protecting environmentally-sensitive areas. Residents of our state’s two largest cities, and the suburbs beyond and in-between will benefit from access to a multi-use trail, and the natural beauty of the Meadowlands. I am grateful for our partners across government including in the Legislature, Essex and Hudson counties, and our federal delegation for their efforts in support of this project.”

“NJ TRANSIT and the Open Space Institute have been working together for more than a year to ensure the Boonton Line will become a wonderful outdoor experience for walkers, runners and bicyclists, while also preserving the potential for environmentally-friendly public transit in the future,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “Greenways and smart, clean public transit are vital to the quality of life in New Jersey, and I’m proud that our continued partnership will assure that these critical needs, for green space and green transportation, will have the opportunity to be fulfilled together.”

“Without question, this deal underscores all the merits of public-private partnerships and strategic land protection in one package.  The Greenway project will make it easier for millions of people to enjoy the benefits of being outdoors, completely transform the way communities connect with nature and connect with each other, linking people to parks, waterways, and their neighbors – all while creating alternative transportation options, improving water quality, and spurring economic activity,” said Open Space Institute President and CEO Kim Elliman. “Thanks to Governor Murphy, this once-in-a-generation opportunity will soon become reality and OSI could not be prouder of the role we played to negotiate the deal, bring stakeholders together, and generate public and private support for the initiative.”

”I am happy to see this project moving forward and thank Governor Murphy for his commitment to creating new green space for New Jersey families," said Senator Bob Menendez. "The Essex-Hudson Greenway will not only create vital recreational opportunities for many of our communities, but also provide transportation alternatives that go beyond the car and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Utilizing both state and federal funds, this project brings all levels of government together to improve the quality of life for area residents. This recreational space will connect suburban and urban communities and bring families of all backgrounds together, while reducing harmful emissions in the region.” 

“The Essex Hudson Greenway project is another example of investing in our state’s infrastructure to revitalize old, unused sites for the benefit of our state’s residents and to advance environmental causes,” said Senator Cory Booker. “The renovated corridor will help pave the way for future public transportation options between Essex and Hudson counties, lead to the construction of walkways and bike lanes, and crucially, assist with stormwater management. I am glad to see various state funding sources being leveraged to back this project and look forward to seeing the benefits it provides to New Jerseyans.”

“The Greenway represents another critical element of our three-decade-long effort to increase open space, bike and pedestrian pathways, and public waterfront access in the region,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise. “I am grateful to Governor Murphy for his leadership on this issue and his commitment to moving the Greenway forward.” 

The new park will pass through a diverse landscape of existing parks and wetlands,  as well as urban, suburban, and industrial areas. The park will include walking paths, bike lanes, and other recreational uses, allowing visitors to take full advantage of a trail that exhibits the varied landscapes of our state including the scenery of the Meadowlands. Funding for the park will be provided through a collaborative effort by the Murphy Administration, including the support of the Department of Environmental Protection and NJ TRANSIT, the Legislature, and New Jersey’s congressional delegation, utilizing American Rescue Plan funding. Over the past few years, NJ TRANSIT and the Open Space Institute have been engaged in negotiations with the Norfolk Southern Corporation for the purchase of this land, which will now be possible with the State’s support. The State’s acquisition of the land also allows its potential future use for mass transit purposes, alongside recreational uses.

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