PATERSON, NJ- In a Friday ceremony punctuated by moving song and poetry performances by four talented Paterson residents, Mayor Andre Sayegh led a cadre of national, state, and county officials in announcing the launch of the next phase of Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park improvements, the Quarry Lawn.
“This project ensures that the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park continues to develop into the high-value natural resource that residents and tourists deserve,” noted Mayor Andre Sayegh. “As the birthplace of the first industrial city in the United States, this area is where Alexander Hamilton set the stage for our city’s rich history.”
Starting his remarks with a hearty “I love coming here,” Governor Phil Murphy called the progress already made within the Great Falls National Park, including the recent reopening of Overlook Park “a significant achievement for this region.”
As Paterson, as well as a handful urban centers Murphy said reiterating his support for cities across the state, goes, “so goes the rest of New Jersey.”
By making the Great Falls a main attraction, and moving the economic impact of its success across the city, Murphy concluded, “we will fully restore the American dream in Paterson.”
The 2.5 acre project which will encompass nearly a third of the former Allied Textile Printing (ATP) industrial complex includes the stabilization of the threatened river wall for at least the length of quarry as well as the construction of a walkway on top of it and the establishment of a “great lawn” for passive recreation and event space for use by the public.
With a price tag of $4.2 million split between the federal, state, county, and local governments, including $2 million in funds from the Centennial Challenge program secured through the efforts of Congressman Bill Pascrell, Paterson can, the venerable lawmaker declared “start filling in details to Alexander Hamilton’s story.”
Among the other funding was a $1.8 million Green Acres grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (EPA), and $150,000 from the City of Paterson for environmental remediation work.
Consisting of over forty structures, including an array of ruins of historically significant 18th and 19th century brownstone and brick industrial buildings built for use in the production and manufacture of various textile and industrial products, the ATP site is located within the boundary of the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park.
According to Gianfranco Archimede, Director of the Paterson Historic and Preservation Commission. ATP ceased operations in 1982, and after several large fires is now a “wasteland of a place that once stood and worked continuously for nearly 200 years.”
The “heaps of twisted and charred debris” that he spoke of were readily visible to reporters and officials that were taken inside the currently fence-ringed area to get a closer look at where the improvement will be made.
The site that housed mills that produced cotton, silk, and rayon, as well as machine works where steam engines and the original Colt revolvers were manufactured is, Archimede added, “a microcosm of what the nation became, industrially, economically, and socially.”
A request for proposals (RFP) for engineering and architectural services will be advertised next week, according to city officials, ultimately leading to a mid-2020 completion date that will be, Archimede concluded, “the first step in the overall reclamation of the ATP site.”