Area around Paterson Great Falls National Park to become ‘open space’

An area slated to become high-end apartments by Paterson's Great Falls National Park will now be designated as "open space."

A groundbreaking ceremony took place in December 2015 in the area for a place envisioned as luxury condos. But the plans were scrapped once it was revealed that the developers did not have the proper permits.

Now the New Jersey Green Acres program has brought the land from the former developers and will turn it into a place the public can enjoy.

"Now they'll be able to see the Great Falls themselves. They'll be able to see the industrial scene that was envisioned by Alexander Hamilton, and they'll have this whole swath of open space to just enjoy," says Bob Guarasci with the National Park Department.

The mayor of Paterson says he also envisions hiking trails, lookout cliffs and eventually concession stands. He's hoping part of the trails will be ready this spring.

"Visitors that come to see the Great Falls can see it from this bird's eye view," Mayor Joey Torres says.

The area is also close to Hinchliffe Stadium, a registered National Landmark and one of the few remaining stadiums left standing that once hosted Negro League Baseball. The stadium has sat empty and crumbling for many years, but Mayor Torres says the new project will also help to restore it.

"We are actually going out to bid now as we speak for what we consider Phase 1 of the restoration," the mayor says.

The foundation originally put down for the condo site has already been dug up, and crews will begin removing vegetation next month.

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