Battle between golf course owners and nature lovers swings on at Liberty State Park
A push by owners of Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City to lease 22 acres of Liberty State Park has become a battle between billionaires and nature lovers.
Park advocates and environmentalists are fighting the plan, saying the area should remain park space open to the public.
What most people don't know is that there are many unique parts of the park like the Cavern Point nature area. There's a wide sandy beach where foxes and egret roam in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline.
The owners of the golf club want a piece of the public park, but for students of the STEAM program at Christ McAuliffe School, losing part of the park would be devastating.
The park's nature area is part of their laboratory. Last year, the team's project won grand prize in the Lexus Eco Challenge. The group is heading into eighth grade this year and is hoping to develop water pollution sensors.
"That beach is really one of the only places in Jersey City that we have that's close that we can take students to," says Joel Naatus, a STEAM team faculty advisor. "And they can get their feet muddy." Liberty National has floated a golf camp for local youth as part of its offer to the state in exchange for the 22 acres. These kids say they want to stick to science.
Earlier this year, the state Senate passed the Liberty State Park Protection Act that supporters say would help prevent privatization of the park. The bill never made it to a vote in the Assembly.