The National Park Service and Passaic County have allotted $829,000 in funds for infrastructure and landscape improvements at the Great Falls Historical Park, announced Congressman Bill Pascrell and Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres on Thursday afternoon.
The county has allotted $590,000 in Open Space Funds which will be spent on an open-air natural amphitheater in part of a park that’s currently inaccessible to the public. The park service allotted $239,000 in federal funds for improvements mainly to the Overlook Park section of the national park.
“These federal funds mark yet another significant step towards properly showcasing the beauty of our local treasure,” Pascrell said.
The federal funds will allow for a newly paved parking lot, installation of new aluminum fencing, picnic tables and benches, granite curbing, and other landscape enhancements in the Overlook Park section of the park.
“I am excited to announce that through our partnership with the National Park Service and Passaic County we are able to continue improvements at Overlook Park to include an open air amphitheater where visitors can enjoy a primary view of our crown jewel, the Great Falls,” Torres said.
The city is entering into an agreement with the park service to administer the federal funds that must be awarded by September 30.
“We are proud to work with Congressman Pascrell and Mayor Torres on the improvements planned for the Great Falls National Park,” Passaic County Freeholder Director Hector Lora said. “This county investment in an outdoor amphitheater will benefit local residents, families, and generations to come.”
County funds will go towards the installation of the natural amphitheater.
Torres said construction will begin almost immediately after work on Mary Ellen Kramer Park concludes. “We will begin construction almost seamlessly as we complete improvements to Mary Ellen Kramer Park opposite of Overlook Park,” Torres said. “These projects form the gateway portion of our loop trail vision to connect both sides of the river with a trail.”
Once completed the improvements will link the new Mary Ellen Kramer Park to the Overlook Park. “The Great Falls represent one of the most historically significant places in the country, and this federal and county investment has the potential to help promote tourism, create jobs and stimulate the economy,” Pascrell said. “I remain committed to securing the resources needed to further enhance the Great Falls National Historical Park for all Patersonians, New Jerseyans and Americans to enjoy.”
“With newly rehabilitated parkland on both sides of the Great Falls, and a new welcome center, the park is beginning to take shape and we expect more such partner projects in the future,” Darren Boch, the park’s superintendent, said.