Newark, New Jersey’s Passaic River faced alarmingly high levels of contamination with mercury and carcinogenic toxins, forcing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to require action. Meanwhile, a lack of significant green space prevented the city’s residents from using the waterway for recreation. Working with local partners, the Trust for Public Land used the river clean-up as an opportunity to address both problems, transforming land around the Passaic into Newark Riverfront Park, a vibrant riverfront that is raising environmental awareness, improving physical and psychological health, and strengthening neighboring urban communities. Extensive investment, restoration, and conservation efforts ensure the waterway itself no longer poses a public health risk, enhancing environmental stability and recreation.
Gamechanger added in 2016.