Great Falls Hearing Set On National Park
By: John Cichowski,
Feb. 28, 2001
A House subcommittee will begin hearings March 13 to assess whether
Paterson's Great Falls Historic District should become a federal park run by the National Park Service.
"Once we are heard, I think it will be undeniable that Great
Falls should become a national park," said Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-Paterson, in announcing the hearings
The announcement came one week after Pascrell and Democratic Sens.
Robert G. Torricelli and Jon S. Corzine began a campaign to direct the park service to study the suitability
of converting the landmark into a national park.
The hearing will be conducted by the House Committee on Resources'
Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands.
The bill's sponsors believe a national park will draw enough public
use to spur development in the economically depressed city. They cited the historic importance of the falls,
which attracted the cotton, textile, silk, firearms, and locomotive industries and produced a huge skilled
labor force in the 19th century.
"The hearing sends a signal that we are serious about . . .
giving the Great Falls and the neighborhood the attention and resources it rightly deserves," Pascrell
The Park Service, however, has noted that it already honors the East
Coast role in the Industrial Revolution with a park in Lowell, Mass., another early textile manufacturing hub.
Spokesmen also have pointed to the skimpy budget of the Park Service.
On a 1976 visit celebrating the nation's 200th anniversary, President
Gerald R. Ford designated the Great Falls a national historic district, the highest level of federal
recognition for a historic site.