Taking action on a commitment to clean up and transition unused state property into productive uses for the public, Governor Chris Christie today announced plans to remediate and convert approximately 165 acres at the original Greystone Psychiatric Hospital property in Morris County, also known as Greystone Park, to useable open space parkland. After years of sitting idle, the plans provide a final resolution for the site, which has remained dormant since the original psychiatric facility closed in 2008.
"My Administration is committed to implementing a plan that finally provides a responsible resolution for the future of the shuttered facilities at Greystone Park and the property they sit on. By doing so, we are fulfilling the state's obligation to clean up this dormant site in an environmentally and fiscally sound manner," said Governor Christie. "When the state closes a facility, it has a responsibility to clean up after itself. As the state has done with brownfields and other dormant or contaminated sites around the state, this plan for Greystone continues our commitment to convert these types of sites to productive public uses with a sustainable approach that includes site demolition, environmental remediation, and its transition to open space for the recreational benefit of our residents."
The original psychiatric hospital at Greystone opened in 1876. The property also contains a sewage treatment plant, wetlands, and a new, modern replacement hospital facility that opened in 2007 and will remain in operation. Previously in 2002, 300 acres were turned over to Morris County from the Greystone property for County Open Space. The Christie Administration plan will convert the remaining vacated Greystone property of nearly 165 acres to open space. The plan anticipates the demolition of dilapidated existing buildings, environmental remediation, and the conversion of the properties to open space, operated by the Morris County park system.
An integral part of this plan, led and developed by the State Treasurer, is a historic redevelopment feasibility study to be undertaken on the original Greystone Hospital Main Building, often referred to as the Kirkbride Building. This study will determine if there are any economically self-sustaining uses for that facility and incorporate those findings into the final implementation plan for Greystone.
"After seeing the Greystone Park site in person, it was clear to me that we must finish the job of turning the site into one that could be used and enjoyed by the public," said Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff. "Under Governor Christie's plan, we are able to meet that obligation at Greystone in a manner that is both fiscally responsible and that continues the Administration's progress in expanding open space resources for New Jerseyans to utilize."
To achieve this plan, Requests For Proposal (RFP) for environmental and design consultant services will be issued to perform an engineering and environmental assessment for work at the site throughout 2012. Subsequent RFPs will then be issued to implement the recommendations on the required remediation and demolition work throughout 2013.
"We are working diligently and taking creative approaches across our State to clean up and restore abandoned and contaminated sites, like the Greystone property, for new and beneficial uses for our communities and residents," said Departmental of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. "We want to take currently unused assets and turn them into open spaces and parks for the community."
Current Administration estimates approximate the cost of site transition at $27 million. In partnership with local government entities, financing for the project will be provided through bonds available through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, including redevelopment bonds, and open space funding. The state will retain ownership of the site, which will be operated by the Morris County park system through an operating agreement with the state upon its conversion and transfer to local open space parkland, until all bond obligations are retired.