Public-Private project will lead to greater, more equitable access to nature and recreational opportunities; alternative transportation; green community infrastructure; and economic activity.
New York, NY (November 12, 2021)—Following more than three years of direct negotiations and decades of local effort, the Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced that a deal has been struck with the state of New Jersey to create a nearly nine-mile Greenway in the highly populated, northern region of the state. The deal marks the single largest state-funded land protection project in New Jersey history.
Under the agreement, announced by Governor Phil Murphy, the state of New Jersey will purchase 135 acres of the former Boonton rail line from Norfolk Southern Railway for $65 million, a price negotiated by OSI as part of a formal purchase agreement announced in July 2020.
The rail line property being purchased by the state of New Jersey, spanning Jersey City, Secaucus, Kearny, Newark, Belleville, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, and Montclair, will bring greater open space access to one of the most urban and populated regions in the nation at a time when the pandemic has reinforced both the merits and need for equitable access to parks and open space.
“Without question, this deal underscores all the merits of public-private partnerships and strategic land protection in one package. This Greenway project will make it easier for millions of people to enjoy the benefits of being outdoors, completely transform the way communities connect with nature and connect with each other, linking people to parks, waterways and their neighbors – all while creating alternative transportation options, improving water quality, and spurring economic activity,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “This once-in-a-generation opportunity will soon become reality and OSI could not be prouder of the role we played to negotiate the deal, bring stakeholders together, and generate public and private support for the initiative.”