The National Park Service awarded $1.85 million to the Great Falls National Park to rehabilitate and improve a 2.5-acre portion of the Allied Textile Printing (ATP) site to create a public access and recreation area called the Quarry Great Lawn, announced Rep. Bill Pascrell.
The project will have a total of $4.35 million with a combination of funds from various government entities. The federal government is providing $2,300,160 which includes the $1,850,160 award which is part of the National Park Service’s Centennial Challenge Project celebrating a century of preserving America’s natural and historically significant places.
The city will match the federal grant with $2,130,000 it has received through the state’s Green Acres program and the county’s Open Space Fund. The remaining $450,000 will come from a 2015 National Park Service Land and Water Conservation grant, according to the congressman.
“By providing a much needed federal investment to open up the historic Allied Textile Printing site we will be able to transform what is currently a dilapidated and dangerous stretch of land into a community space for festivals and concerts,” said Pascrell.
The ATP site has been closed to the public for decades. The project will open up a portion of the site to the public, according to officials.
“This project opens the doors, to the nation, to the place where the seeds of Paterson were planted, where the silk industry began and where Alexander Hamilton’s vision took off,” said mayor Jose “Joey” Torres. “It’s a very exciting time for us, and we are very grateful to our funding partners, the NPS, State of NJ, and Passaic County.”
The work that will be done as part of this project include stabilization and/or selective demolition of above-ground historic foundations and walls, filling of foundations holes, grading, seeding, and landscaping.
“This project is another exciting step forward we’re making with our partners toward building a great urban national park at the Great Falls, just in time for the National Park Service Centennial,” said Darren Boch, superintendent of the Great Falls National Park. “Mary Ellen Kramer Park re-opened in August, Overlook Park and the old Dairy Queen site will undergo major rehabilitation this summer, and now we’ll look to connect those projects with public access to the ATP site.”
The Quarry Lawn was known as Mount Morris in the 19th Century. The hill was quarried, leaving a 50-foot tall basalt wall that naturally enclosed a flat open space along the river, where textile dying mills sprouted on the small plateau in the early 20th Century.
The site eventually became covered with mill buildings. The site now holds the ruins of many of those mill buildings. The site is unsafe and is in need of great rehabilitation.
A revitalized Quarry Lawn is being envisaged as a space for community events, picnics, festivals, and performances. The space will feature an open lawn area with flower beds, shade trees, and paved paths.
Pascrell pointed out the city’s park received the third largest award in the Centennial Challenge this year. He said he wrote letters in support of the park and lobbied for the park with the head of the National Park Service.
“This is another significant milestone in the progress we are making at the Great Falls and there is much more to look forward to, I promise you that,” said Pascrell.