Groundbreaking for Elizabeth River Trail!
Below is GW Elizabeth’s Press Release:
Elizabeth, N.J., Wednesday, October 26th, 2011–For generations, residents and stakeholders in Elizabeth and throughout UnionCounty have envisioned a trail along the banks of the ElizabethRiver. First proposed by the Olmsted Architectural Firm in the 1920’s, constant flooding by the waterway prevented actual construction. In the 1970’s the Army Corps of Engineers remedied the flooding problem by channelizing the river in theElizabeth downtown, and through dirt berms along County Parks, theElizabeth River Parkway andMattanoPark systems. This flood solution became the first step in a process that now will result in an Elizabeth River Trail System.
On Wednesday, October 26th, the Mayor of Elizabeth, Chris Bollwage, joined by members of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, representatives from the US Senate and House of Representatives, delegates from the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program, the NJ DOT, NJ DEP, and Groundwork Elizabeth, will gather at the St. John’s Parsonage, at 11 a.m. at 633 Pearl Street in Elizabeth in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Elizabeth River Trail.
Mayor Chris Bollwage, a lifelong resident ofElizabethand in his role as civic leader, has been a longtime proponent of the project and of Groundwork Elizabeth’s role as orchestrator of the many partnerships that were forged to address the trail. “We seek to consistently upgrade the livability of the City”, said Mayor Bollwage, “Our goals are consistent with Groundwork Elizabeth and they have been eager allies in our shared mission to makeElizabetha better place to work, to live and to visit”.
Groundwork’s President Bob Varady is thrilled with the groundbreaking, “We are pleased to have been able to participate in a project of such prominence here in the City. Groundwork has been successful in building partnerships as we “change places and change lives”, and we thank everyone for their dedication and participation in their work on the River Trail”. Funding for the project was first secured through the Federal Transportation Act of 2006, leveraged by an apportionment through the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, supplemented by funds through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
TheElizabethRivertrail is due to be built in phases. The groundbreaking signifies the first phase, built fromSouth Broad StreettoBridge Street. Subsequent phases will extend the trail under the new Rt. 1 & 9 overpass, through theElizabeth River ParkwayandMattanoPark, and eventually connect to another trail at the Arthur Kill. The 2 ¼ mile trail will allow pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, and others unimpeded motor-free access to the City, and will also eventually connect with a larger project, the East Coast Greenway, through a Midtown Development Project. Artwork is featured along the first Phase, funded by a grant from the National Recreational Trails program, and there are plans for kayak launches, educational outposts, lighting, and other design elements that resulted from a design charette organized to include ideas from the community. This phase of the trail should be completed by Spring 2012.
The Groundwork Program was brought to the City in 2002, a result of a search by the National Park Service RTCA, which continues to oversee Groundwork USA’s expansion into cities which have environmental urban challenges such as Brownfields. Groundwork’s newest program is called “Come Grow With Us”, an urban community gardening program. For more information, log onto www.groundworkelizabeth.com, or call 289-0262. For more information on the City of Elizabeth, logo onto the City of Elizabeth website at www.elizabethnj.org.