LSP plan will enhance our ‘paradise’

Ever since the first section opened in 1976, Liberty State Park has been a little pocket of paradise for Jersey City. It’s the go-to destination for the families who can’t make it to the Shore every summer, and this green haven is difficult to imagine as anything but.

However, the area where Liberty State Park now resides was once far from green. It was once a wasteland of abandoned railroad tracks and loading docks until a group of dedicated civic activists spearheaded a movement that eventually became the driving force behind the creation of Liberty Park. However, the interior area remained cut off from the public, its long railroad history leaving it contaminated.

No longer. Finally, the state has decided to go ahead and remediate the area, which will open up over seven miles of new trails, clean up 234 acres, and increase the park’s usable space by 40%.

This project is not cheap and will cost tens of millions of dollars — but it’s not taxpayer money. The money for this natural area project comes from a natural resource damage settlement paid by Exxon.

Some people are worried about the current vegetation, which will mostly be destroyed by the remediation necessary. The settlement, however, represents a golden once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the loss of the current vegetation will create something special, and, more importantly, safe, that is ecologically better in the long run.

All in all, the state’s plan for the transformation of this area will be incredibly beneficial and could not be done at a better time. Access to scarce urban nature, in addition to the state’s plan to create park active recreation facilities, will be beneficial not only for Liberty State Park but for all of the families and students who visit, ensuring that our (now larger) pocket of paradise is here to stay.

Lola Lam and Ruby Mae Tomolonis, Green team members at Learning Community Charter School in Jersey City

Name street for Dr. Conti

This April 13 marks Dr. Michael Conti’s 126th birthday. Sadly, Dr. Conti succumbed to a heart attack on Oct. 1, 1973. It would be a fitting tribute to designate a portion of Fourth Street in honor of Dr. Conti on his birthday.

Some 47 years ago, a group of concerned citizens within Jersey City commenced a petition drive to name P.S. No. 5 and a portion of Fourth Street in honor of Dr. Conti. Subsequently, a delegation presented the petition with over 2,000 signatures to then-Councilman Peter Zampella and Council President Dominick Pugliese.

Even though Mayor Paul Jordan had designated P.S. No. 5 to be named in honor of Dr. Conti, it was under the Cucci administration, a little over a decade later, that No. 5 officially became the Dr. Michael Conti School.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to personally have known Dr. Conti. However, the petition drive of 1974 remains incomplete. Many had worked very hard on that worthwhile endeavor; and, sadly, many of those folks are no longer with us.

It would be a great honor, a lasting tribute to Dr. Conti and to all those who worked on — and supported — this effort, to bring the petition drive of 1974 to successful completion and closure.

That being said, I, on behalf of the Dante Alighieri Society, respectfully ask, once again, that a portion of Fourth Street, between Jersey Avenue and Coles Street, be designated “Doctor Michael Conti Way.” The Dante Alighieri Society and I request that a set of plaques be placed on the corners of Fourth Street and Jersey Avenue and Fourth Street and Coles Street with the name “Doctor Michael Conti Way” inscribed on them.

Dr. Conti was Jersey City’s greatest humanitarian “country doctor.” He had his practice on Fourth Street for half a century.

Dr. Conti was a humble man; he was a laudable credit to the solemn Hippocratic oath. He was a true philanthropist. Dr. Conti gave exceptional medical care to everyone at a very reasonable price. If the patient was unable to pay the modest fee for the outstanding medical treatment, the good doctor would simply smile and say, “Next time.”

Dr. Conti was a genuine 20th century Renaissance man. He firmly believed that all mankind is generally good. Dr. Conti’s love for his fellow human being was so strong and unyielding that despite the times he was brutally attacked and robbed, he continued to make late-night house calls until he was well over 70 years old — to include house calls into some of the most socially and economically challenged sections and neighborhoods in Jersey City.

Dr. Conti is one of this city’s greatest heroes. He is a very positive role model for the youth of our city to emulate. Consequently, Dr. Conti truly merits additional public recognition — “Doctor Michael Conti Way” — for the outstanding medical care he had provided to the people of Jersey City for over 50 years.

Albert J. Cupo, President, Dante Alighieri Society, Jersey City

Who we need in City Hall

This year, 2021, is a time for — and of — great change for Jersey City.

In approximately eight months, the people of Jersey City will be given an opportunity to elect an administration that will guide our city for the next four years.

Without doubt, we truly need civic-minded elected officials in City Hall who will unite all the people of this great city.

Jersey City needs a mayor and a city council that will focus their combined energies on administering to the needs of the municipality, that will represent all the people from every ward in this city, and that will lead our city to the highest pinnacle of prominence, achievement, and success possible.

Our mayor and city council need to be this city’s most devoted cheerleaders and staunchest advocates. They need to be our “champions.”

Regrettably, throughout the years, Jersey City has been the source — the hapless victim — of derision, scorn, ridicule, and embarrassment. We need a mayor and a city council that will allow the citizens of this city to hold their heads up high with pride and unparalleled distinction.

Basically, we need a mayor and a city council that will make us proud to be citizens of Jersey City.

John DiGenio, Jersey City

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