The park also has seen much development over the years, such as the transformation of the former Central Railroad of New Jersey (CRRNJ) Terminal into a museum/information center for visitors to the park and Statue of Liberty, and the construction and opening of the Liberty Science Center in 1993.
In the next two years, there will be several projects undertaken simultaneously that will transform the park further, from the expansion of the Liberty Science Center and the erecting of the state's 9/11 memorial.
This month, there will be two fundraising events held within the park - one to support the traveling educational programs conducted by the Liberty Science Center while expansion is underway, and one to maintain the natural qualities of the park itself.Science Center on the road
Starting this September, the Liberty Science Center will start a two-year expansion and renovation project that will almost double the space of the center, from 195,000 to nearly 300,000 square feet.
The Liberty Science Center, located near the north end of Liberty State Park, has served over nine million guests since it opened for business in 1993. It is a place where visitors interface with various exhibits such as the current "Robots N Us" and the upcoming "Action! An Adventure in Moviemaking." A majority of visitors are children who either come with their parents or with their teachers, especially to teach science classes in one of several classrooms located within the center.
Elizabeth Romanaux, the vice-president of Marketing for Liberty Science Center, said that the expansion is being done to better serve their primary audience.
"The expansion will allow for more teachers and students to have classes who have a desire to learn about science," said Romanaux. "We have to turn away classes, since most days we are packed and there is not enough room. That shouldn't happen."
Included in the expansion will be a transformation of the ground floor, known as the Invention Floor, into the new Center for Science Learning and Teaching (CSLT), where teachers, students, families, other education groups will come for science instruction in small auditorium spaces and state-of-the-art science classrooms. After school, in the evening and on weekends, the CSLT will provide space for family classes and science clubs, and for science-related community gatherings.
Also, there will also be an expansion of the retail and dining areas that visitors will see when the center reopens on July 4, 2007. There will be a groundbreaking in June at the center, but it will not officially close its doors until after Labor Day.
In the meantime, the center will increase their efforts to bring their education programs to the people by visiting schools in the tri-state area. The fundraiser
To help fund those education programs, there will be a fundraising gala this Tuesday at the CRRNJ Terminal, located at the northern end of Liberty State Park. The 12th Annual Gala for the Liberty Science Center will see over 400 guests coming out to honor Rep. Robert Menendez, Dr. Henry A. McKinnell, Chairman and CEO of the Pfizer, Inc., and Liberty Science Trustee Jennifer A. Chalsty.
Allison Czarnecki, Coordinator of Special Gifts and Institutional Initiative at Liberty Science Center, said that there's a goal of $1,000,000 to be raised at the gala, with much of the money to be allocated to the general budget of the center. Czarnecki said that the money is especially needed for the traveling educational programs. A walk in the park
In two weeks, there will be a walk scheduled to take place in Liberty State Park. The park usually plays host to a number of walking events that raise awareness of a disease or a noble social cause. But on April 30, the Walk for Liberty State Park 2005 will raise awareness of the park itself.
According to Sam Pesin, president of the Friends of Liberty State Park (FOLSP), the all-volunteer organization dedicated to the park, it is the first fundraising event for the park in its 29-year history.
"The main impetus is raise some funds to beautify the park and raise people's awareness of this wonderful park we have," said Pesin. "I heard some people call it New Jersey's front yard and some people call it New Jersey's backyard. This is precious green space that is the people's park."
Pesin said the funds raised from this first walk will go toward beautifying the park, including putting more flowers and trees in the park as well setting aside money for the construction of a new picnic area in the southern end of the park. Pesin also said so far there have been donations from local businesses such as the Liberty House Restaurant and the Hard Grove Café. But he admitted that while the idea for the walk was considered in December, it was only in the last six weeks that the walk was organized.
"We don't have a set goal [for raising money] since we were late," said Pesin, who said that the FOLSP is still looking for co-sponsors for the event. Other fundraisers before anniversary
There will be a series of fundraising events that will take place in the upcoming year leading to the 30th anniversary date of June 14, 2006. Pesin pointed out that with cutbacks in the state budget this year, there is less money for the state's parks, including Liberty State Park.
But what also spurs Pesin to organize this walk is preserving the park that was borne out of the vision of his late father, Morris. Pesin was six years old when his father took the family to see the Statue of Liberty one afternoon in June 1957 - but that meant traveling to Manhattan to take a ferry to Liberty Island and dealing with traffic. Out of the senior Pesin's frustration with having to travel across the Hudson when it would be easier to leave from the then-undeveloped Jersey City shoreline, he started a 19-year struggle that came to fruition with the park.
"I'm glad he turned his anger into a special vision," said Pesin. "The park is a jewel and a great public resource. It's really important to our quality of life and to all people of all colors and ethnic background who use the park." Info on the events
The Walk for Liberty State Park 2005 on April 30 will start from the CRRNJ Terminal at 10 a.m. and end there by 1 p.m., with participants making a 3-mile roundtrip trek along the walkway along the waterfront or having the option of a shorter distance.
There will be face painting and music provided. Pre-registering is $20, and $30 on 30th, and $15 for groups of 5 people or more.
For more information, call (201) 915-3440 or Sam Pesin at (201) 792-1993, or visit www.folsp.org.
The 12th Annual Gala for the Liberty Science Center on April 19 will be held in the CRRNJ Terminal starting at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception and the gala starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for individual patrons are $500 each, and companies are $1,000 each.
For more information, contact Allison Czarnecki at (201) 451-0006 Ext. 233 Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.