Braddock Park diversion

Dear Editor:
The Township of North Bergen claims the “compelling need” for its Braddock Park Diversion application (which would permanently grant the Township land in Hudson County’s Braddock Park for its preschool), is the state’s mandate to provide a preschool for its citizens. This is a falsehood; North Bergen did provide a preschool, it just didn’t locate it in the right place in 2001 and Braddock Park isn’t the right place for it in 2015, because it is in violation of NJ DEP Regulations.
Hudson County voters recently overwhelmingly supported Question 2 on the 2014 Election ballot which increased funding to the NJ DEP Green Acres Program. Voters believed Green Acres would save, protect and enhance their green spaces. Instead, this diversion will fragment and replace land from the best and most popular park around for miles, in one of the nation’s most dense and green-less urban areas, for 3 small synthetic so called “parks” that will serve little useful purpose and will not substitute for what will be permanently lost in Braddock Park. The diversion will further crowd an already overused park and it will negatively affect its open space environment, plants, trees, grasses, wildlife and a beautiful natural vista.
The preschool serves approximately 250 people, Braddock Park serves thousands of residents of Hudson and other counties. Diversions are meant to be a last resort. If this standard is not adhered to, the future bodes the loss of great, large urban parks like Braddock, which will be replaced by tiny synthetic parks with benches for residents to sit and watch their natural environment disappear.
This is more than a diversion, it is a perversion of the intentions of the Green Acres Program and a deception to all the citizens of New Jersey. If approved, this will set a precedent which will encourage future diversion applications, whether for a new North Bergen High School, or for other purposes, by neighboring Hudson County municipalities who will believe that they too are entitled to divert part of their county park for themselves.
Hopefully the consequences of North Bergen’s application will not be ignored or minimized in rendering a decision.
Robert Walden

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