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Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey

Operating Engineers, Laborers, NAACP seek changes in Liberty State Park bill

Legislature asked to postpone vote on Liberty State Park Protection Act

By David Wildstein, January 11 2020 9:10 am

Two of the state’s most politically influential building trades unions and the NAACP New Jersey State Conference want the legislature to postpone a vote on the “Liberty State Park Protection Act” until changes are made in the legislation.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 and Laborers International Union of North America  (LIUNA) wants to secure private investment in the remediation contaminated areas of Craven Point Peninsula and Liberty State Park and receive guarantees that millions in economic and charitable impact remain in New Jersey, the Enhance Liberty State Park Coalition announced today.

The Liberty National Golf Club is seeking state approval to lease Craven Point.  The owner, billionaire Paul Fireman, has proposed an environmental cleanup of the site and protecting green space.

“The ‘Liberty State Park Protection Act’ is well meaning legislation, but it falls incredibly short of providing any real benefit to people of color in Hudson County,” said NAACP president Richard Smith.  “If the bill passes as is, it will leave minority communities shut out of the discussion on the future of Liberty State Park.”

Greg Lalevee, the Operating Engineers business manager, said that Fireman’s plan creates an opportunity to preserve 99% of the park.

“Mr. Fireman is willing to invest a substantial amount of money to improve access to the park and upgrade facilities there,” Lalevee said. “Mr. Fireman used his own dollars to clean up the once polluted land that is now Liberty National.  He has done this before and the results speak for themselves.”

Raymond Pocino, vice president and eastern regional manager of LIUNA, said that the plan would “reclaim environmentally damaged Craven Point for useful use.”

According to Pocino, the project would bring millions of dollars to the region after upgrades to Liberty National brings major PGA tournaments to Jersey City.

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