Newark, NJ – August 20, 2010 – Mayor Cory A. Booker and Deputy Mayor of Economic and Housing Development Stefan Pryor announced today that the City of Newark in partnership with the Hackensack Riverkeeper will be offering Newark Riverfront Boat Tours for Summer 2010 this weekend and next. A complete list of dates and times are listed below.
“Our city exists because of its river,” said Mayor Booker. “It is the reason that people came to this place: Native Americans, European Puritans, American Industrialists, and the Great Migration of African-Americans. But for too long Newarkers have been alienated and blocked off from their riverfront. My administration is dedicated to bringing Newark and Newarkers back to the water.”
The riverboat tours travel over six miles along Newark’s riverfront twice a day. A Hackensack RiverkeeperCaptain will discuss the riverfront’s past and future history with participants. The tour highlights the riverfront’s natural beauty (egrets, cormorants, and herons), active industry (metal recycling to mattress manufacturing), monumental structures (Pulaski Skyway and the “Little Orphan Annie” bridge), Downtown Newark and several neighborhoods.
“Under Mayor Booker’s leadership, the City of Newark has reengaged with its historic waterfront,” said Stefan Pryor, Deputy Mayor for Economic and Housing Development. “This year, we will construct the first section of Newark Riverfront Park – a three acre space that will contain a walking and biking trail, a floating boat dock, a riverfront boardwalk, and settings to rest, picnic, exercise, and learn about the environment. This past spring, Essex County announced the public acquisition of 12 acres of riverfront land in the Ironbound, bringing us a step closer to our future vision for our waterfront: a network of riverfront parks stretching through the Ironbound, Downtown, and up into Lower Broadway and the North Ward. Thanks to City Waterfront Planner Damon Rich for his orchestration and skill, and to our County partners and other collaborators, who have made our initiative possible.”
“We’re happy to be once again partnering with Newark Riverfront Regeneration on what I’m sure will be a another successful season of Eco-Cruises on the Passaic,” said Captain Bill Sheehan, the Hackensack Riverkeeper. “Weather permitting, we could even double the number of folks we took on the river last year. The boats are comfortable and the company is always great. Plus it’s a real honor to help introduce the sons and daughters of Newark to their river; and to share some good times on the water.”
The tours and other innovative outreach and constituency-building programs have been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Hackensack Riverkeeper is providing boats and their captains.
"The movement to reclaim Newark's riverfront begins with people seeing it with their own eyes. Last summer, over 200 Newarkers experienced their city by boat. This summer, 400 will do the same. That's how the curious become advocates for their neighborhoods and their city, and how we will continue to build momentum and win victories to create the riverfront that Newark wants,” said City of Newark Urban Designer and Waterfront Planner Damon Rich who will lead the tours.
In order to participate in this two-hour boat ride, individuals and groups must make a reservation by calling the City of Newark’s Division of Planning at (973) 733-3917 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Seating is limited. Boats can accommodate up to 15 people per trip. The first boat ride will leave at 9 a.m., returning at 12:30 p.m., and the second trip will launch from the dock at 11 a.m., returning at 2:30 p.m.
The City of Newark, partnered with the County of Essex and the Trust for Public Land, have secured funds to construct the first phase of Newark Riverfront Park, the city’s first true riverfront park. Using a site owned by the City, the County, and the State of New Jersey, Lee Weintraub Landscape Architects and Hatch Mott MacDonald Engineers have developed a 7-acre plan based on residents’ ideas and desires. Secured funding sources include the Urban Enterprise Zone, NJDEP Green Acres and HDSRF Program, Essex County Open Space Trust Fund, NJDOT I BOAT NJ Program, NY/NJ Baykeeper, and private sources. The plan includes a walkway/bikeway, lawns for relaxing, a boardwalk, and a floating boat dock. Development of the site will begin with environmental remediation of the former industrial parcels, followed by the creation of park facilities, including a public access floating dock, a riverfront trail, and new plantings. The project will be enhanced with improved pedestrian connections to the surrounding Ironbound (East Ward) neighborhood. The park will also include the first portion of the Joseph G. Minish Riverfront Trail, a long-term project to create a pedestrian promenade along the length of the Passaic River in Newark.
In April 2010, Mayor Cory A. Booker, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., East Ward Council Member Augusto Amador, and other dignitaries announced that Essex County acquired 12.33 acres of property in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood which will be redeveloped into the Essex County Riverfront Park. This would be the fourth new park added to the historic Essex County Park System during the last four years.
To learn more about this and other Newark Riverfront events and initiatives please visit www.newarksriver.wordpress.com. For information about any City of Newark program or policy, contact the Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 733-4311.
Contact: Newark Press Information Office: (973) 733-8004
About the City of Newark, New Jersey
Newark, commonly referred to as Brick City, is the third oldest city in the United States and the largest in New Jersey, with a population of more than 280,000 people. Newark sits on one of the nation’s largest transportation super-structures including an international airport, major rail connections, major highway intersections and the busiest seaport on the east coast.
With a new Administration as of July 2006, Newark continues to see signs of a strong revival. In population, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the northeast. Its six major colleges and universities are further expanding their presence. The production of affordable housing has doubled, businesses are returning and crime is going down. There is still much work to be done but Newark is on its way to achieving its mission: to set a national standard for urban transformation.
About the Newark Riverfront Regeneration
Newark Riverfront Regeneration (NRR), an initiative of the Newark Department of Economic and Housing Development, aims to regenerate Newark’s riverfront to bring concrete benefits to the City of Newark and its residents. Since 2008, NRR has built support for Newark’s riverfront by taking hundreds of people on boat and walking tours, hosting dozens of outreach events, organizing design education programs for youth, and staging a City Hall exhibition. This year, in partnership with the County of Essex and the Trust for Public Land, the City of Newark will begin construction on the first section of Newark Riverfront Park, containing a walking and biking trail, floating boat dock, riverfront boardwalk, and other settings for relaxation, picnics, exercise, and environmental education.
About the Hackensack RiverKeeper:
Founded by Captain Bill Sheehan in 1997, Hackensack Riverkeeper, Inc. (HRI) is the citizen-steward of the Hackensack River. HRI works for the protection, preservation and restoration of the Hackensack River and its 165 square-mile watershed. Over the years, their advocacy and action have resulted in the protection of over 12,000 acres of wetlands, woodlands and waterways from the New York line to Newark Bay. HRI fights for public access and the creation of new parks. Their legal victories include a $500 million court-ordered cleanup – just across the bay from Newark. Hackensack Riverkeeper is well-known for its environmental education programs. Each year from May through October, Captain Bill and fellow Captain Hugh Carola conduct Eco-Cruises aboard the vessels Robert H. Boyle and Edward Abbey on the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers; and Newark Bay. HRI also conducts regular River Cleanups, monitors public officials, and maintains an active legal presence in the region. Visit www.hackensackriverkeeper.org or call (201) 968-0808 for more information.
For more information on the City of Newark, please visit our website at www.ci.newark.nj.us
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SUMMER 2010 NEWARK RIVERFRONT BOAT TOUR SCHEDULE
Saturday, August 21
9 am – 12:30 pm
11 am – 2:30 pm
Sunday, August 22
9 am – 12:30 pm
11 am – 2:30 pm
Saturday, August 28
9 am – 12:30 pm
11 am – 2:30 pm