Will Call on DEP to Release ‘Secret’ Report Detailing Potential Revenue-Generating Activities
TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senate Environment Chairman Bob Smith today announced that the Senate will hold a hearing to examine the state’s potential development plans for Liberty State Park in Jersey City.
The hearing of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee is being held at the request of Senator Weinberg, who has made numerous public records requests to the DEP for a taxpayer-funded report detailing potential revenue-generating activities for Liberty State Park. The “Liberty State Park assessment report” was developed at a cost of $120,000 by Biederman Redevelopment Ventures and submitted to the DEP approximately seven months ago. The department has refused to release it.
“We know the state is considering ways to bring in revenue from Liberty State Park,” said Senator Weinberg. “We believe strongly that New Jersey residents have a right to know what steps the state is taking towards developing or otherwise creating a money-making venture in a public park, particularly when taxpayers have funded the state’s research. This is a tourist destination visited by millions of people, including those traveling to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the New York area. Any alterations to the landscape could have wide-ranging impacts on our state. We expect to hear from the DEP commissioner about the details of this ‘secret’ report and any other plans the department has for development.”
“Liberty State Park is a New Jersey treasure and a major asset to our state. Any proposals to develop or in any way monetize the park should be publicly vetted,” said Senator Smith. “In the interest of transparency, we will be asking the DEP to engage in a full open discussion on the options the department is reviewing, or that have been submitted by private entities, for development within the park. We also look forward to hearing from stakeholder groups on this matter.”
The hearing date will be announced in the coming weeks.