The hum of construction is about to hit one of New Jersey’s most prominent green spaces as a massive expansion of Liberty State Park is slated to begin in the coming days.
Formal work on the interior of the park, which has long been closed to the public, is scheduled to begin on October 18. The 240-acre western section of the park will be undergoing a restoration that focuses heavily on ecological revitalization of an area that was once home to rail yards.
The initial work, dubbed Phase 1A, will clean up legacy industrial pollution and includes complete ecological restoration with nature-based climate resilience features. The work will reintroduce native tidal and non-tidal wetlands while creating new meadows and an urban forest.
Major improvements in Phase 1A include the creation of scenic hilltop overlooks and the addition of over five miles of new walking and running trails. Phase 1A additionally includes environmental cleanup work at the site of the future Southern Athletics Hub near the end of the park, which will begin the planning phase after the first phase is completed.
To celebrate the October 18 groundbreaking, officials will be holding an “open house” regarding future expansion plans. A 6 p.m. meeting to be held in the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal Building (CRRNJ) will seek public feedback regarding Phase 1B of the project, which will look to build public amenities along the Audrey Zapp Drive corridor.
Other notable components of Phase 1B for Liberty State Park include the potential rehabilitation and repurposing of the historic CRRNJ train sheds into covered outdoor public community space that could potentially host a marketplace.
The final portion of the Liberty State Park plan, Phase 2, involves the creation of a Holistic Long-Term Master Plan for the park that looks to assess opportunities and plan improvements for the park’s Southern Area along Morris Pesin Drive and the waterfront.
That portion will look to create the aforementioned Southern Athletics Hub within about 50 acres along the western portion of the park.