FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Some residents in Fort Lee are pushing back on a proposed plan that would remove trees from a park and replace them with fields and asphalt.
“They want to level it to make a parking lot and an Astroturf facility,” Anastasio Zaharikutis told CBS2’s Meg Baker on Thursday.READ MORE: Officials Say Lack Of Crossing Guards In New Jersey Town Is Creating Public Safety Issues
Residents who use Palisades Interstate Park off of North Central Road say they want to protect Mother Nature. A sign reads “Save this park.”
Preliminary plans would cut down hundreds of trees to make way for a multi-purpose athletic field, 100 parking spaces, restrooms, a playground and a dog park.
“Fort Lee is very, very much a city and it’s becoming more congested every day and every hour and that’s why we chose here and we want this to remain our quiet little oasis,” realtor and resident Linda Barba said.
People who live in a nearby building said they could not imagine losing this gem.READ MORE: COVID Vaccine 'Mix-And-Match' Study Finds Moderna Booster After J&J Single-Shot Produced Major Increase In Antibodies
“It’s one of the last wild spaces in our town. Look, at it. It’s so beautiful, and these trees, when you see them, they have been growing for decades,” resident Natalie Arellano said.
Officials were not available to go on camera, but said they are exploring all options because the borough is short so many fields. There is limited open space for kids’ recreation. Girls softball, for example, doesn’t even have a field.
“I understand that there are other people in the community that would like fields, but we are also part of Fort Lee community, who would like to keep the park and preserve the park the way it is,” Jane Ruggiero said.
Officials stressed that the plan is in the beginning stages and public input is welcomed.
Residents who oppose the idea plan to attend a council meeting Thursday night to voice concerns.MORE NEWS: 81-Year-Old Found Dead In Elmwood Park Home, Man Taken Into Custody
CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.