Northern New Jersey is among the most densely populated and demographically diverse regions in the United States. And like many of our nation’s urban and suburban communities, availability of parks and access to nature is severely lacking. But this disparity could be about to change – in a big way.
The Open Space Institute (OSI) is leading the way for the creation of nearly nine miles of linear park in the Garden State’s Essex and Hudson Counties.
The Essex-Hudson Greenway project offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve access to nature and create countless new recreational and transportation opportunities.
Earlier this year, in partnership with New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition and the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance, and with support from the Thomas L. Kempner Jr. Foundation, OSI reached an agreement with Norfolk Southern Railway Company to purchase the former Boonton Branch of the railway’s property – setting the stage for the long sought after Essex-Hudson Greenway. And while much work lies ahead to make this project happen, this linear park has never been closer to reality.
Essex County Commissioner Brendan Gill, a long-time proponent and driving force of the project, calls it a “game changer” for suburban and urban locations along the line, including Newark and Jersey City. “The possibilities are limitless,” Gill says of the project. “From expanding commuting options to providing safe greenspace to exercise and enjoy the outdoors, we are on the verge of something really wonderful.”