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State Sen. Brian Stack. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Caven Point protection bill takes first step through legislature

Stack introduced bill in response to criticism of earlier Liberty State Park legislation

By Joey Fox, August 08 2022 5:30 pm

A bill explicitly protecting the Liberty State Park enclave of Caven Point passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously today, addressing criticism that previous legislation did not do enough to protect the natural habitat from privatization.

“Caven Point is a unique public space and deserving of special consideration,” State Sen. Brian Stack (D-Union City), the bill’s sponsor, said in June. Stack added his bill is intended “to make clear that Caven Point shall remain as it does today – a nature habitat and public space.”

At the end of the spring legislative session, the legislature passed a bill creating the Liberty State Park Task Force and appropriating $50 million for the refurbishment of the park. 

While the legislation was praised by Jersey City politicians, environmental groups warned that it left the park vulnerable to overdevelopment. Of particular concern was Caven Point, a small natural area that has long been coveted by former Reebok CEO Paul Fireman, who has repeatedly tried to expand his neighboring golf course into the park. 

Stack’s bill, which is cosponsored by State Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-Jersey City), was seemingly introduced in response to this criticism. Several environmental groups and advocates came to today’s committee hearing in support of the legislation; their former foes, the supporters of the earlier task force bill, were not present.

“This bill is historic,” said Sam Pesin, the president of Friends of Liberty State Park and a tireless critic of the bill that passed in June. “It’s a milestone. It’s tremendously welcomed. You are doing something tremendous with your actions.”

With the legislature currently in a summer recess – interrupted for today primarily to confirm judicial nominees – it’s not clear when the bill will next move forward. It will have to go through Assembly committee and pass both legislative chambers, potentially leaving plenty of time for Fireman to involve himself in the process one again.

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