JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A planned building project at Liberty State Park is making waves.
Some people fear the waterfront project will ruin the majestic views.
Liberty State Park is an urban backyard. A peaceful spot to escape the city with clear views of the Veranzano bridge and lady liberty, but Sam Pesin and others say the slice of serenity could be obstructed by boats.
“This is an obscene giveaway. A corporate takeover of a non-commercial, urban, family, peaceful, picnicking side of the park,” Pesin said.
Pesin is fighting a new plan to commercialize the southern end of the public park with a mile long private marina. Renderings were obtained by the Friends of Liberty State Park through a Freedom of Information request and confirmed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
Pesin said the picnic area is jam-packed on summer nights, and so are the parking lots which may be taken away.
Suntex, which operates the marina at the north end, would like to build another private marine — leasing 45 acres on the southern end for new docks and private parking, paying $900,000 in annual rent to the state for the first three years.
“Having mega-yachts right next to this lawn behind the Statue of Liberty would be an international symbol of everything that’s wrong with America,” Pesin said.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said the private leases would help generate revenue for the park and save taxpayer money by offsetting the cost to repair damaged bulkheads and other upgrades.
Local Noel Perez agreed the area could use a makeover.
“It’s been a long time,” he said.
While John Neider enjoys it just the way it is.
“I think it’s going to disturb the wildlife,” he said.
Greg Remaud with New York/New Jersey Baykeepers said it’s a social justice issue.
“This is the only place in north Jersey for several miles, where you can actually get down, touch the water, throw in a fishing pole,” he said, “People from all economic levels are able to make it here. Now it will be shut off except to the wealthiest who can afford yachts, and leasing expensive yacht space.”
Suntex did not respond to a request for comment, but its plans include a children’s sailing school, replacement of the public boat launch, a fishing pier, a boat club, and other amenities that will be available to the public.
There will be several public hearings before the proposal is approved by the state.