NJMC “Report Card” Shows Master Plan
Implementation A Success
The Meadowlands Master Plan is being implemented successfully according to the first Strategic Review of the Meadowlands Master Plan, which was submitted to the Board of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission in January.
“This report shows that after two years of working hard to implement the Meadowlands Master Plan, this Board has done wonders,” said NJMC Chair and NJ Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Susan Bass Levin. “The Board has acquired or otherwise seen to the preservation of 987 acres of previously unprotected land. The NJMC has targeted 1,027 acres for habitat enhancement. Five new waterside parks have either been opened or have entered the development process. A convention and visitors bureau has been opened. Eight of our 14 District municipalities are benefiting from redevelopment sites. Affordable housing is moving forward in the District.”
The Strategic Review of the Meadowlands Master Plan covers the last two years of policymaking since the Meadowlands Master Plan was approved by the Board in January 2004. According the report, the NJMC achieved or exceeded 23 of the 28 goals the agency set for itself in the first two years. Progress was made in all five of the Master Plan’s “systems,” the natural environment, economic development, transportation, housing, and community facilities, with particular gains made in the natural environment. Where goals were met or exceeded, the report establishes new goals for the coming years.
The Master Plan calls for the conservation of the 8,400-acre Meadowlands urban wetlands ecosystem, the transformation of areas that are polluted or blighted into strong points of economic and community-oriented growth, and setting the stage for redevelopment with a potential market value of $5.6 billion and the creation of 56,250 new permanent jobs. It marks the conclusion of a previous 30-year period of land use conflict in which stakeholders in the Meadowlands could not agree on a common vision for the District.
“We have seen great progress in the Meadowlands since the adoption of its Master Plan two years ago,” said Captain Bill Sheehan, executive director, Hackensack Riverkeeper. “Undeveloped wetlands are now off-limits to development. What may be the largest tract of privately owned urban wetlands–585 acres–in the country has been preserved. At the same time, redevelopment projects are being held to a standard that meets or exceeds environmental laws and regulations.”
In future editions of the report, a broad range of studies and analysis - currently underway by the Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute, Institute for Meadowlands Studies, and other groups - will provide even more precise measurements of progress.
The report will now be taken into the Meadowlands communities for a series of three listening sessions. For locations and dates, contact the NJMC at 201-460-1700.
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