A rally against the expansion of Liberty National Golf Club drew hundreds to Liberty State Park on an unseasonably warm January morning. Led by the Friends of Liberty State Park and the NY/NJ Baykeepers, protesters called attention to the Liberty State Park Protection Act, which is currently stalled in the state legislature. The Liberty State Park Protection Act would limit development in the state park and protect Caven Point, a 22-acre salt marsh and migratory bird habitat.
Liberty State Park is frequently the target of privatization, most recently in 2018 when developers sought to build a second marina at the southern end of the park; the state Department of Environmental Protection rejected the plan. In the latest land grab, Liberty National owner, Reebok founder Paul Fireman, seeks to relocate three of the golf course’s holes and expand into Caven Point, seeing the expansion as a potential economic boon for region and the state.
Mayor Steven Fulop and Freeholder Bill O’Dea were among the elected officials who spoke in support of the bill at Saturday’s rally. FOLSP president Sam Pesin, Liberty State Park’s longtime advocate, reiterated, “The essence of our history is that people put democracy into action as you’re doing today and have fought for this people’s park behind Lady Liberty. We have the same message today from 43 years of battles, that the people own this land.”
Header: Photo by Joanna Arcieri