Governor Phil Murphy’s clear social justice choice is to reject the Liberty National Golf Course’s proposal for leasing away Liberty State Park’s priceless Caven Point Natural Area, immediately behind Lady Liberty.
The governor must choose between protecting this public natural area, an amazing urban wildlife habitat, or caving in to the golf course’s land grab for its multimillionaire members.
Liberty National’s relocated golf holes would destroy the Caven Point wildlife sanctuary which provides annual environmental education opportunities for hundreds of students and treasured experiences for nature explorers of all ages in this crowded and concrete region.
Governor Murphy should kill this unconscionable giveaway, initiated by Gov. Christie, whose presidential campaign got $1 million from the golf course owner. Gov. Murphy should respect the four decades of overwhelming majority opposition to LSP privatization and the current opposition which includes over fifty organizations which signed a Coalition letter to the NJDEP and park supporters who are closely watching what he will do regarding this “slice of wilderness” with its uplands and unique urban natural beach purchased with state and federal taxpayers’ money. His “Environmental and Energy Transition Team” specifically recommended against privatizing Liberty State Park.
The golf course has its own land for a new tournament staging area and a “First Tee Academy” program for local youth - right next to its clubhouse where it wanted a casino and 90 story hotel. It can easily get this vacant land re-zoned, or buy nearby private land or private land by Hudson County’s Skyway Golf Course which already has a First Tee Academy program.
When the governor officially kills the LSP southside marina plan that would have confiscated open space, vistas and one of two free southside parking lots, he should also kill this obscene “1 percenter” golf course plan to rob Caven Point from future generations. Caven Point is invaluable and besides, the 24 year lease for this Natural Area would only provide a pittance to LSP, a “mess of pottage” to use a Biblical phrase that my father, Morris Pesin, LSP’s “father”, used for previous battles against profiteers who wanted chunks of our urban waterfront public land.
For background information on this major LSP battle, please click on the top “banner” at our website www.folsp.org.
Sam Pesin, president of The Friends of Liberty State Park