TRENTON – The state Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday announced preservation of a 14.4-acre reservoir near the Lincoln Tunnel that will serve as open space for passive recreation pursuits.
To help accomplish that goal, the DEP worked with the Hudson County municipalities of Weehawken and Union City, along with the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, and the nonprofit Trust for Public Land.
“The agreement was made possible by the cooperation and vision of all the parties, who recognized and under an accelerated time frame acted upon a rare opportunity to permanently protect open space in the heart of one of the nation’s most densely populated areas,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said in a statement.
Through a Memorandum of Agreement, Weehawken and Union City will establish a trail around the reservoir for passive recreation.
United Water Company had owned the reservoir but had not used it for many years. The reservoir, surrounded by a thin strip of land, is located in Weehawken, on the border with Union City.
In October, the state Local Finance Board gave approval for an application by Weehawken for $9 million to help acquire the tract.
The deal was made possible with the help of an $8.66 million New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust low-interest loan for Weehawken and a $2 million Green Acres grant. Each of the municipalities provided $168,000. The Trust for Public Land played a major role in coordinating the purchase, officials said.
“Weehawken and Union City are densely populated, growing, and lacking options for new parks and open space, so this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a new recreational amenity for this community,” Anthony Cucchi, New Jersey state director of The Trust for Public Land, said in a release.
The Green Acres Program has helped preserve some 650,000 acres of land since its inception in 1961.
“This is a perfect way to cap our year-long celebration of the anniversary of that first bond act, which launched New Jersey on a half-century of land preservation and established the state as a national leader in protecting open space and developing parks,” said Richard Boornazian, administrator of the Green Acres Program.
Union City Mayor Brian Stack said, “I am excited by the immeasurable potential of the reservoir project, which will offer more greenery and nature to residents of an urban setting.”