BASF and the Borough of East Newark on Friday hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to announce the construction of the East Newark Riverfront Park, a five-acre property along the banks of the Passaic River.
Construction of the park is the first of its kind, early restoration settlement agreement between BASF and the federal natural resources trustees to mitigate obligations associated with natural resource damages resulting from legacy contamination.
“As a result of cooperative efforts by BASF and the state and federal governments, the community of East Newark can look forward to restored natural resources that will increase the area’s biodiversity for migratory birds and pollinators, help manage stormwater runoff, improve water quality in the Passaic River and enhance quality of life for residents,” said Shawn M. LaTourette, Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
BASF will convert the former industrial property into the park, which will include green space with a variety of options for recreational use and support the wellbeing of the community. BASF expects to complete the project in two years.
“We’re pleased this property will be restored and returned to the community as a multi-use ecological space,” said Tobias Dratt, president, BASF North America. “Converting the vacant property to a park will benefit the environment and allows the public to connect with the waterfront by opening many new possibilities for recreation, learning and community engagement.”
The ceremony was attended by community leaders and residents, federal, state and local elected officials, representatives from federal and state regulatory agencies, and BASF executives.
The project was made possible through coordination and support of the federal natural resource trustees — the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — as well as the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Borough of East Newark.
“This new park will enhance the community and improve quality of life for residents and wildlife,” said Senator Bob Menendez. “The park will bring residents together and allow families to reconnect and enjoy recreation and nature. I thank Mayor Dina Grilo for her leadership and ensuring this project gets off the ground.”
Once completed, the park — designed to support biodiversity — will be home to pollinator gardens, meadow and wooded areas and native grasslands. This will provide important habitat to migratory birds, bats, butterflies, and small mammals. In addition, recreational features will offer opportunities for the public to walk or bike along the riverfront and enjoy a natural setting for socializing.
“The new park will be a significant benefit to our community, and I am excited to celebrate its progress at today’s groundbreaking,” said Dina Grilo, Mayor of East Newark. “Very soon, this new open space will add countless benefits to our vibrant community by offering our residents and their families a safe place to gather, have fun, enjoy nature and so much more.
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