PATERSON, N.J. - The Green Acres Program has purchased an 8.5 acre tract of land adjacent to the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. The site, which was once proposed for a housing development, is on a ridge 100 feet above the Passaic River. The DEP has expressed desire for an expanded trail system, historic interpretation and other park amenities on this land. The property was purchased from Paterson Renewal Associates, LLC for $5.7 million. In 2011 Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park officially became the 397th National Park in the nation.
“By preserving this property we’re keeping the ‘Great’ in the Great Falls National Park. What was once going to be an ugly housing development that cut a visual scar through the landscape will not stay preserved for people to enjoy. We opposed this project because it would have been in the middle of the Great Falls Historic District would have put a blight on the landscape and interfered with the use of the park. The development would have been visible throughout the National Park and been next to the Hinchliffe Stadium, a historic site. Now, what was going to be an ugly housing development is going to be an important part of the park that people can use and enjoy” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We want to thank the Christie Administration Green Acres program for preserving an integral part of the Great Falls National Historic Park.”
The Paterson Great Falls park area has a lot of history with old mills, historic buildings, factories, history of industrial development with the raceways and power systems designated as engineering landmarks. There is also history of people standing up for rights with the Great Silk Strike of 1911, a landmark event showing the struggle of workers to stand up for their rights. The Sierra Club has been involved for many years with the citizens of Paterson in protecting these historic features from being knocked down for redevelopment. We are happy to see a park that preserves both the park’s aesthetic value as well as its history in such a diverse and urban area of the country.
“This is a victory for historic preservation and open space. Paterson Great Falls is the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution; it has an abundance of natural resources, historical sites, and cultural aspects all in the middle of a living, breathing city. This park is incredibly unique because it is lived by people on a daily basis. Its historic sites show the evolution of the average working person since the founding of the industrial revolution. Instead of being in the middle of a rural area, it documents an active part of a city and is an oasis for its residents in a densely populated urban area. It is even more unique because unlike other historic parks, it has the Great Falls, which are a natural wonder in the middle of a city,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We’ve been working for twenty years alongside the citizens of Paterson to preserve and protect the Great Falls and prevent inappropriate development in the area. We are happy to see this piece of land preserved for its environmental integrity and so that people can enjoy the stunning views and history of Paterson Great Falls.”