New Meadowlands Master Plan Unveiled!
NJMC finally strikes a true balance between preservation and development
By Hugh M. Carola
At the NJMC’s February meeting, stakeholders from across the watershed spoke in favor of the plan which, in addition to protecting the wetlands, establishes four redevelopment zones within the Meadowlands District: the Paterson Plank Road redevelopment corridor in Carlstadt, the Secaucus Transit Village, the Keegan site in south Kearny, and EnCap’s “landfills to links” development in Rutherford, Lyndhurst and North Arlington. Each of those sites is located on either landfill or otherwise previously-developed land.
One common thread that just about every speaker touched upon was the idea that the Master Plan does away with the losing proposition of forcing us to choose between environmental protection and economic prosperity. Richard Fritsky of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce, a longtime adversary, threw his support behind the plan and ended his remarks with, “All these years I tried to tell Capt. Bill that I was a nice guy; maybe now he’ll invite me on his boat.” An invitation was sent the next day.
Three public hearings, chaired by NJMC Executive Director Bob Ceberio, were held this Spring. Each was well-attended and members of the public had ample opportunities to submit comments and testimony. At each hearing, the vast majority of comments were unequivocally supportive of the Master Plan.
There has been an almost surreal quality to the Master Plan process. For those of us who were present at the meeting and hearings, it was amazing to see the role reversal of the agency and the people that we had battled with for years standing with us instead. Capt. Bill said it best on February 26: “Memories of those battles are still fresh in our minds but the strife is now over and the battles are done. It’s time to cap the landfills, re-create the green spaces, establish the Meadowlands Preserve and finally fix the River. Let’s get started.”
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