The Hudson County town of Harrison has taken a huge step toward its revitalization goals with the opening over the weekend of Red Bull Arena, a world-class soccer venue made possible in large part by the efforts of the Department of Environmental Protection.
"Looking at this wonderful park with its unique sail-like roof, it is virtually impossible to imagine that this area encompassed abandoned industrial land on the Passaic River that held little hope for the future," Commissioner Martin said. "This stadium is the beginning of many good things to come for Harrison. The DEP is proud to be a player on a visionary team that is making this transformation happen."
The 25,000-seat Red Bull Arena is the cornerstone of a massive commercial, retail and residential redevelopment project that is being coordinated with the help of the DEP's Brownfield Development Area program.
Brownfields are former industrial sites that have known or suspected contamination. The Brownfield Development Area program allows municipalities and developers to coordinate the remediation of multiple contaminated sites. The DEP also works closely with communities to implement their redevelopment plans and makes sure they stay on track.
The state's Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund also provided nearly $6 million for site investigation and cleanup work.
The Harrison Waterfront was once home to what President William Howard Taft called a "hive of industry," but over the decades the waterfront disintegrated into a collapsing collection of abandoned factories and warehouses. With the DEP's help, the structures were demolished and the soils were remediated, clearing the way for one of the largest mixed-use redevelopments projects under way in New Jersey.
A key step in the process is ensuring that the community supports the plan and goals. The DEP engages various stakeholders, including owners of contaminated properties, potentially responsible parties, developers, community groups, and local governments to participate in developing the cleanup and revitalization strategies. Once the cleanup begins, the DEP makes sure all state environmental standards are met.