Governor Chris Christie wants to turn Liberty State Park into an amusement park complete with a neighboring hotel. The Department of Environmental Protection published a report (PDF) last week outlining possible changes and recommending hiring a master planner for the potential project. According to the report, “Liberty State Park is underused, and could be drawing millions more visits per year.” Financially, the park sees 4 million visitors annually and has a yearly budget of $3.5 million, but generates only $1.5 million.
The developments wouldn’t affect the entire park, but rather portions of it. For instance, the report mentions turning the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal building into a restaurant, bar, or catering hall. Other potential developments include a low-rise hotel, re-creations of famous restaurants from across the state, and a museum tied to immigration. The report also suggests turning a southern zone of Liberty State Park into an amusement park or outdoor amphitheater. Naturally, environmentalists and Mayor Steven Fulop have already denounced such plans.
Since it opened in 1976, private companies have been salivating at the thought of developing within Liberty State Park, which boasts dramatic, unobstructed views of New York City and the Statue of Liberty. But advocates, such as Friends of Liberty State Park, have kept private organizations from encroaching upon the park. —CBS New York
(Image: Department of Environmental Protection, PDF)