County embraces linear park project that will support healthy communities and promote local economic recovery
Essex County, NJ – September 24, 2020 – The Open Space Institute (OSI), along with partners New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition and the 9/11 National Memorial Trail Alliance, today announced passage of a resolution by the Essex County Commission expressing support for the development of the Essex-Hudson Greenway. Approval of the resolution, passed by the commissioners with a unanimous vote, marks the first official action in support of the Essex-Hudson Greenway project by the full body.
A digital copy of the full resolution can be found here.
“We are excited to see continued progress toward bringing the Essex-Hudson Greenway to reality,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of Open Space Institute. “The Open Space Institute is proud to be part of this transformational project that will not only provide much-needed green space for residents, but also pave the way for economic recovery. We thank Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., longtime project supporter Essex County Commissioner President Brendan Gill, and all the County Commissioners for their support of and enthusiasm for this once-in-a-generation project.”
“With this decisive vote, the Essex County Executive and Commissioners have chosen to support a greener, sustainable future by creating new opportunities for active transportation and recreation that bind communities together, promote economic development, and give access to safe biking and walking to everyone,” said Debra Kagan, Executive Director of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition.
“The Essex Hudson Greenway forms an important part of the alignment of the 9/11 Trail, connecting communities in Northern New Jersey with a larger regional shared-use trail network. We are thrilled to make continued progress with our partners on this important segment,” says Thomas Baxter, President of the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance.
A long-held vision of all the communities along the route, the resolution solidifies the intent of Essex County to seek financial support and ownership for their portion of the Essex-Hudson Greenway. The resolution advances the linear park project by providing initial guidance for construction of the property as a multi-use trail, and outlining the next administrative steps to be taken in the short-term.
In late July, Open Space Institute and its partners announced a preliminary purchase and sale agreement with Norfolk Southern Railway Company for property in New Jersey’s Essex and Hudson Counties. The proposed linear park traverses through Jersey City, Secaucus, Kearny, Newark, Belleville, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, and Montclair.
Spanning an average of 100 feet in width throughout its route, the Essex-Hudson Greenway has the potential to offer significant benefits, especially in light of the current health and fiscal crises. The Open Space Institute, and its partners, have already begun investing in planning, surveying, environmental assessments, and more. This preliminary work is supporting a number of jobs related to planning and property acquisition, and the project is intended to create hundreds more jobs in construction. The nature of the greenway project will offer potential support to new and existing businesses throughout the length of the linear park, as well as community improvements such as internet access, storm water relief strategies, and emergency response.
In addition to its economic benefits, the creation of a new Essex-Hudson Greenway offers a range of other environmental, transportation, and health benefits – especially as the public turns more and more towards local access to green space. The project offers potential to reduce traffic, improve transportation options for residents, and allow for improved infrastructure connectivity for things like broadband and emergency response.
About Open Space Institute
Founded more than four decades ago, the Open Space Institute (OSI) has partnered in the protection of 2.3 million acres across eastern North America from Quebec to Florida. Over the past 16 years, OSI has worked to protect more than 21,000 acres of New Jersey farms, forests, and local parkland within the Highlands, the Pinelands, the Bayshore, and the heavily developed northeastern suburbs. In addition to the Essex Hudson Greenway, OSI’s current projects include efforts to help protect land and improve water quality in the Delaware River Basin and provide public access to the 1,200-acre Jersey City Reservoir in Boonton and Parsippany.
About New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition
The New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition (NJBWC) is the only statewide advocacy organization for bicyclists and pedestrians and provides a collective voice for everyone who believes that a more rideable and walkable New Jersey means a more livable, equitable, and sustainable New Jersey. NJBWC officially adopted the Essex Hudson Greenway Project in 2014 and has been a leader in building the advocacy campaign to make it a reality.
About the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance
The September 11th National Memorial Trail is a 1,300-mile system of trails and roadways that links the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The route serves as a symbol of national resiliency and character and as a tribute to the fallen heroes who perished on September 11, 2001, and the many heroes who have committed themselves to the response for their country.