Finding green for the Voie Verte | Jersey Journal Editorial

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The Essex-Hudson Greenway Project is a vision to transform nearly nine miles of unused railroad track into a spectacular linear park.

When completed, it would connect eight municipalities in the two counties: Jersey City, Secaucus and Kearny to Hudson and Newark, Belleville, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge and Montclair in Essex.

Fitness enthusiasts could do this by bike. Nature lovers could take a walk there. Commuters could walk, skate or cycle to work or school without traffic.

It is a plan that has been in preparation for decades.

People have been talking about it and writing about it more recently because a critical deadline to put all the plots in place for it is coming in January – which might as well be “tomorrow” in bureaucratic terms.

The property is the route of the former Boonton Line of the Norfolk Southern Railway Company, Michele S. Byers, executive director of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, explained in an opinion piece.

The line was discontinued in 2002 and last year the nonprofit Open Space Institute struck a deal to buy its 135 acres for $ 65 million, she wrote. But if funding fails over the next six months, Norfolk Southern could start selling the land for local development.

It would be a major missed opportunity, which is why we are adding our voice to the appeals to Governor Murphy to ensure that does not happen.

Late last month, a spokesperson for Murphy told NJ Advance Media that the governor supported the plan but was concerned about a proposed financing structure involving a loan from the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank.

“The administration is ready to work with all stakeholders to explore options for funding this important project,” spokesman Michael Zhadanovsky said.

Local officials and open space advocates must keep up the pressure to make sure the clock doesn’t run out.

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