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CARLSTADT, NJ-The New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, a state agency, has unveiled its plans for a public park and marina on a four-acre former restaurant site on the Hackensack River waterfront here. Most of the site was the parking lot for the Barge Club Restaurant, which occupied two restored barges moored at the site.

“The designs combine this location’s history as well as the future of the Meadowlands,” says NJMC commissioner James Anzevino. “The Barge Club Restaurant was an iconic site for travelers along the river, so it’s fitting that these designs recall that past.”

As reported by GlobeSt.com,the NJMC bought the site a year ago from the LaVerghetta family, which had operated the restaurant for more than 30 years before shutting it down in early 2005. The commission paid $3.1 million for the site, using funds provided by the Port Authority of NY/NJ and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The NJMC will spend another $2.5 million to redevelop the site. Plans call for a 50-slip public marina that will include a boat ramp, a regional rowing center, paddle clubs, interpretive nature trails and a State Marine Police and New Jersey DEP conservation facility. The “Barge” sign for the defunct restaurant will be retained at the park’s entrance, and boathouses will be constructed utilizing salvaged wood from the restaurant.

Plans also call for the restoration of an adjacent 45 acres of the 600-acre former Empire Tract, now a nature area. The Empire Tract was the site originally coveted by the Mills Corp. for a shopping/entertainment complex that ultimately morphed into the Meadowlands Xanadu project to the north in East Rutherford.

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