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State Sen. Ronald Rice. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Rice urges inclusive dialogue on Parks development

By Nikita Biryukov, July 02 2020 4:44 pm

State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Newark) called for diverse communities to be included in conversations about how the state manages its parks.

“Nature is for everyone — not just the rich — and it needs to be especially accessible to those without backyard patios and manicured lawns.  The use of our state parks is not a black and white issue, or an open-shut case dictated by one group of us,” said Rice, who chairs the Legislative Black Caucus. “There are many voices in our state and they all need to be heard.”

A single paragraph in a stop-gap budget Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Tuesday has drawn concerted furor from environmental advocates and some Democratic lawmakers.

The passage said the state will issue a request for bids for private and non-private bids for park capital projects, and some fear the measure was slipped in to help a gold course subsume parts of Liberty Square Park.

“Today, as we survey the expanse of our state laid bare, we realize that this is our chance to get it right, to come as close to Eden as is humanly possible. Now is the time to choose what seeds will sprout into the best environment for all of us,” Rice said. “This is our chance to choose who will do the planning and the planting and how the fruits of our efforts will be distributed.”

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