Corzine: Parks will stay public and not go private

Could state parks be run by private companies? Could hotels be built on public parkland? News 12 New Jersey has learned both of those options have been discussed between the governor?s office and lawmakers. However, Gov. Jon Corzine says he has no plans to do either.

According to several confidential e-mails, the governor?s office and state lawmakers have talked about letting developers build hotels and convention centers on parkland. It was even suggested to let private companies run some parks at a profit.

Supporters of the plans see them as a way to raise money and balance the state budget. But environmentalists are already lining up against the proposals.

Corzine and his staff say environmentalists are getting worried over nothing. The governor says he has seen the proposals and has no plans to turn parks over to private companies. However, he did leave the door open when it came to letting companies do business on public parkland.

?We might look at concessions and other things that might be able to raise revenues, but no decisions have been taken on the issues,? Corzine says.

Any park development plan is illegal under federal law. But, two state lawmakers recently introduced a bill that would let the state get around that law. Corzine insists he has no plans to let that happen.

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