Years After Sandy, State Plans to Renovate the Liberty State Park Interpretive Center

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Liberty State Park Nature Interpretive Center Jersey City Exterior
Liberty State Park Nature Interpretive Center designed by Michael Graves, Jersey City. Photo by C. Karnoutsos, 2008, via njcu.edu.

It has been more than five years since Superstorm Sandy caused severe damage throughout Hudson County. In the time since, there have been a variety of efforts to rebuild, but one tourist attraction in Jersey City has yet to reopen its doors. Located next to a pond and salt marsh, the Liberty State Park Nature Interpretive Center was flooded and impacted by mold during the October 2012 storm, forcing the building on Freedom Way to temporarily close to the public. Designed by Michael Graves, the two-story center previously hosted programming regarding ecology and local history.

Now, plans are once again moving forward to reopen the structure. The New Jersey Department of the Treasury hosted a pre-bid meeting on April 2 in Trenton for contractors interested in being hired for the renovation of the building, according to a legal notice. The agency describes this as a $2,815,475 project that requires bidders or their subcontractors to be certified in plumbing, HVAC, and electrical work. Of the companies that attended the meeting, a contractor has not yet been selected for the renovation.

This is not the first time that the state has considered moving forward on reopening the center. A Request for Proposals (RFP) from 2014 shows that a consultant was sought for the project. At the time, the cost of construction was estimated at $1.5 million, with the building described as having a “history of roof leaks” in need of “new exhibit areas, exhibits, auditorium, restrooms, offices, and reception areas.” The RFP stated that the structure took on 12 to 24 inches of water during Sandy.

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The Nature Interpretive Center was far from the only part of Liberty State Park to be damaged during the storm. The former Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal along the waterfront remained closed for nearly four years but reopened in 2016 after a $20 million renovation. Over the last two years, most of the types of programs that used to be held in the center have taken place inside the terminal.

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