BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The Township of Bloomfield has been awarded $3 million in New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection grant funding that will be used for the development of the Lion Gate Municipal Park and Wetlands Complex.

The award is part of a combined $53 million in grants to communities within the watershed of the lower Passaic River and the Newark Bay complex to improve public access to urban waterways and restore wetlands ecosystems.

The grant will assist in Bloomfield's effort to convert a flood-prone brownfield site near the Passaic River at the former Scientific Glass property into an 18-acre municipal park that will include a new multi-use field for township recreation programs, passive walking areas, stream corridor enhancement and construction of freshwater wetland. The development of Lion Gate is expected to significantly reduce flooding in the neighborhood, saving homeowners money in reduced flood insurance rates, and thanks to state and federal grants will be built at no cost to Bloomfield taxpayers.

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“This grant is an important step forward that will ensure that Bloomfield residents have access to open space and natural resources at the new Lion Gate Park, all at no cost to local taxpayers,” said Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia. “We would not have been able to come this far without the hard work and persistent efforts of Councilman Nick Joanow, who has advocated for this park for many years, as well as our team of professionals who made this grant application successful. I would like to thank them all on behalf of the residents of Bloomfield.”

The award is partly a result of a 2014 Natural Resource Damage settlement agreement with Occidental Chemical Corp. and other parties associated with the discharge of hazardous pollutants into the Passaic River. It was awarded as part of a competitive application process.

“The great news we just received is part of an extensive years-long effort to make sure that Bloomfield residents not only have access to open space with a municipal park, but also additional wetlands and flood storage,” said Bloomfield Second-Ward Councilman Nicholas Joanow. “I’m ecstatic to be a part of a model project that will change the face of our community in such a positive way and believe that it will serve as a template for what should be done on FEMA flood plains throughout the country."

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