PATERSON, NJ – U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) has announced that the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) awarded the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection a $679,335 federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant to fund the Great Falls Park Riverwalk project at the Great Falls National Historical Park in Paterson.  The federal grant will help fund the construction of a public plaza and river walk at the national park.

“These federal funds mark yet another significant step towards properly showcasing the beauty of our local treasure,” stated Pascrell.  “The Great Falls represent one of the most historically significant places in the country, and this federal investment has the potential to help promote tourism, create jobs and stimulate the economy.  I remain committed to securing the resources needed to further enhance the Great Falls National Historical Park for all Patersonians, New Jerseyans and Americans to enjoy.”

In September, Rep. Pascrell joined more than 130 of his colleagues in urging House leadership to reauthorize the LWCF, which expired on September 30. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a partnership program that provides matching funds to states and local communities for acquisition, development and conservation of parks and open space.  The program is administered by NPS in partnership with state governments.

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“This innovative project right here in Paterson is a perfect example of the resounding success of this federal program,” continued Pascrell.  “Unfortunately, despite overwhelming bipartisan support, Congress has continued its tradition of shortsightedness and allowed this effective program to expire. Congress needs to provide full, mandatory funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and honor the bipartisan commitment it made 50 years ago to safeguard natural areas, water resources and our cultural heritage.”

Rep. Pascrell introduced the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park Act of 2009, HR 280.  This bipartisan legislation designates a National Historical Park at the Great Falls in Paterson. The language from the bill was incorporated into the larger Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009, HR 146, which was signed into law by President Obama in March of 2009.