Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler’s call for a “swimming pool” in Liberty State Park is highly deceptive. What is actually being proposed by the Liberty State Park Development Corp, and which the mayor is well aware of, is a 13-acre, high-impact noisy commercial waterpark (Aquatic Center) charging an estimated $9.00 to $13.00 per person, to be used by thousands of swimmers for three months of the year and located in the buffer zone immediately adjacent to the 200 plus acres of natural area. This will have an adverse impact on the more than 200 species of migrating and residing birds. Furthermore the park is on the Atlantic flyway.
It is essential that the buffer zone to the natural area remain a free, green oasis open for informal sports, picnics, gardens, nature studies and carefully planned walkways within the exterior.
Our jewel of a park provides respite for humans from the city noises and the frequent shrillness of police, fire and ambulance sirens. Must we now be assaulted in the park as well from the shrieks and screams emanating from a waterpark?
Such a commercial enterprise of a waterpark is simply outrageous and so totally inappropriate. No other state park is beleaguered with preposterous proposals that are more suitable for Great Adventure than our magnificent Liberty State Park, gateway to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It is time for the Development Corp to be dumped and the money saved used towards the Park.
Another major concern is the traffic nightmare in the summer that will be created by a waterpark or any other commercial enterprise. Consider the traffic for current and planned activities.
Currently there is traffic flowing into the park for passive recreation, picnics, playgrounds, Circle Line Ferry, commuter ferry, Liberty Science Center (which is planning to double in size), Central Railroad Terminal special events, concerts, golf driving range (planned) Liberty Marina restaurant, Interpretive Center events and the planned Sports Complex at the car pound site on the western border of the park. And they want to build a commercial waterpark! Unbelievable.
On entering the northern end of the park on a weekday in August at 8:30 a.m. with no special events planned, there was already a line up of cars waiting for the traffic light to change at the light rail crossing.
Mayor Schundler’s effort to utilize a state park for what he sees as the city’s swimming needs is out of line. The city has 10 or 11 swimming pools when they are all maintained. The fees charged by a waterpark would not be affordable for most Jersey City youngsters. In the most densely populated county in the state there is a crying need for free, open green space. Why then must there be a constant battle to save what we have?
If the mayor feels there is a need for a waterpark in the city then he should have the tax abated developers build it on city land. At this point one wonders what role is being played by the money given by waterfront developers to the political parties?