Tomorrow night, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette will get another chance to present his vision for Liberty State Park.

The open house, scheduled for 6 p.m. at the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal building located within the park at One Audrey Zapp Drive, has taken on enormous significance for long-time park advocates.

In March, a similar event was abruptly cancelled, provoking a torrent of criticism from Sam Pesin, president of Friends of Liberty State Park and others.

In an email to supporters today, Pesin called for a large turnout, asking people to “ignore billionaire Paul Fireman’s front groups’ propagandized followers…and various funded opportunists wanting the sports and entertainment complex commercial venues replacing the DEP’s extraordinary plans.”

Peoples Park Foundation proposal for Liberty State Park
Liberty State Park for All proposal for Liberty State Park

Two Fireman funded groups, People’s Park Foundation and Liberty State Park for All, have proposed building 5,000- and 2,500-seat stadiums and 7,000-seat commercial concert venue in the park.

Critics have countered that the DEP plan would already provide 61 acres of active recreation without the traffic and noise associated with building what the Newark Star-Ledger called a “mini-Meadowlands.”

The program includes planning, design, and construction work divided into three phases that correspond to the northern, interior, and southern/waterfront areas of the park.

The DEP will share a schedule of LSP Revitalization Program actions expected over the next year, which will include multiple points of continued public engagement and an initial groundbreaking early this fall. Attendees will be invited to view a poster and video exhibit and provide feedback on options for new public amenities in each phase of the revitalization.

LaTourette, DEP staff, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers professionals will be available throughout the evening to answer questions and collect ideas directly from the public.