Jersey City, NJ—In the face of various budget shortfalls, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine met with Chrysler Chairman and CEO Robert Nardelli Wednesday to announce a partnership that will see the grand opening of the soon to be developed Jeep Liberty State Park in the spring of 2010.
The sprawling 1200-acre state park on the western shore of the Hudson River and positioned directly behind the world famous Statue of Liberty will essentially be sponsored, owned, and operated by The Chrysler Corporation – a move that will generate an undisclosed amount of revenue for the State of New Jersey while eliminating the cost of the park’s upkeep in respect to the state budget.
“It’s a win/win situation,” says Corzine. “Our friends at Chrysler have done a tremendous favor for the people of New Jersey, and we look forward to enjoying the many innovations in store for one of our most revered resources.”
Preliminary plans include converting the park’s open space into an off-road driving course, with preferred access granted to Jeep Liberty and other Chrysler-made vehicles. Jeep-branded playgrounds and other facilities, including the Sahara Sandbox, the Wrangler Petting Zoo, and Grand Cherokee Native American Museum are all slated to open next April, following a yearlong closure and redesign of the park.
“We want to send a message that says the American auto industry remains one of the strongest in the world,” says Nardelli. “What better way to do so than to take our place here in the shadow of one of our nation’s most beloved symbols, a beacon of promise and fortitude known the world over.”
Chrysler and other American auto companies have felt the brunt of the recent global economic crisis. In December, then-President George W. Bush announced a $13.4 billion rescue loan to the auto industry in an effort to keep it afloat, a move that has some questioning how and why Chrysler has the funds available for such a bold marketing campaign.
“If their best idea is to use my federal tax money to buy my public land from my state government,” ponders Eric Stratton, president of the NJ Meadowlands and Liberty Convention and Visitors Bureau, “then I question the wisdom of those in charge of salvaging the American auto industry.”
Meanwhile, local residents, in this densely populated area where open space is a premium, have mixed opinions on the privatization of such beloved park land. Larry Kroger, an artist living Jersey City, worries, “Putting a logo on such a treasured space is rather insulting, plus it’ll be a long summer without being able to walk through my favorite park.”
But Barbara-Sue Jansen, a public relations exec from Hoboken, can’t wait for the new-look park. “Oh my God, I’m so excited! My daddy bought me a Jeep Liberty last year and I can’t wait to try off-roading,” she said, adding, “I just hope it doesn’t get it too dirty.”
Jeep Liberty State Park is expected to generate nearly two dozen new jobs for the Chrysler Corporation. Meanwhile, the State of New Jersey will eliminate approximately 50 paid positions associated with the operation and maintenance of the land.
For those readers that have made it this far without realizing, Wednesday was April 1… Suckahs!!! The preceding story and its quotations are primarily fabricated. As if they’d have me writing “real” news anyhow…
Christopher M. Halleron, freelance writer/bitter bartender, writes a biweekly humor column for The Hudson Current and websites in the New York Metro area. He spends a lot of his time either in front of or behind the bar in Hoboken, New Jersey where his tolerance for liquor grows stronger as his tolerance for society is eroded on a daily basis. Feel free to comment on his articles below and drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.