Accompanied by New Jersey Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Brad Campbell, State Senator and Bayonne Mayor Joseph Doria clutched his coat closed against the brisk wind with one hand and snipping the ribbon that officially opened a new public walkway along the foot of the Bayonne Golf Club.
"The walkway provides public access to Bayonne's New York Bay waterfront and will offer pedestrians great views of the harbor and the surrounding communities," Doria said.
While the City of Bayonne arranged for the financing that allowed this section of the Hudson River Walkway to be completed, Empire Golf - developers of the links style golf course around which the walkway runs - will pay the loan, interest and other related costs.
"The walkway is another example of a successful brownfield redevelopment that will benefit the community and those who visit the area," Campbell said.
The Bayonne Golf Club - which has been under construction since the late 1990s - is located at the site of a former municipal trash dump and industrial property previously owned by PSE&G.
Significant environmental remediation was required to convert the site to recreation use. Since the late 1990s, the developer's crews have used the clean fill (dirt) and treated dredge materials to raise soil levels to create the Scottish links -style golf course. As part of the agreement to cleanup and develop the site, Empire Golf also agreed to build the walkway, which fills in one of the remaining gaps in the Hudson River Walkway
A long history
The concept for a walkway along the Hudson River was first proposed in 1966 by the Regional Plan Association, which saw the decline in port-related activities and gradually vacated piers up and down the riverfront.
In the 1979, then Governor Brendan Byrne established the Hudson River Planning Development Commission to look into a possible walkway. A year later, the New Jersey Legislature passed a law requiring any developer along the waterfront between the Bayonne and George Washington Bridge to build and maintain a continuous walkway open to the public. In 1988, the state developed specific regulations that required developers to provide at 30-foot wide easement and to construct the walkway along the river in order to get a permit to develop. As of 2004, 14 miles of walkway had been constructed. But gaps exist, partly because some areas of the waterfront are still being used for industrial space. In this case, the walk has configured alternative pathways such as along Broadway or Prospect Avenue/Avenue E in Bayonne. In some cases, walkway areas have yet to be constructed. The golf course walkway fills one of 12 gaps that exist in Bayonne.
The Bayonne Golf Club is planning to open in the Spring of 2006, although officials from Empire Golf said the walkway will officially open after the installation of additional rail along one section and a stretch of walkway which is due for lighting. This walkway connects to walkway that currently exists behind the South Cove Mall on Lefante Way - and this will connect to the walkway expected to encircle the nearby former Military Ocean Terminal.
Contact Al Sullivan at email@example.com