Contact: Kelly Vence

Public Information Office





ELIZABETH, NJ - May 28, 2012 --  The Long anticipated first phase of the Elizabeth River Trail officially opened on May 25, 2012 with a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by Groundwork Elizabeth and Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. The trail, which reclaimed under-utilized space along the Elizabeth River basin in Midtown, begins with a dramatic entrance-way at Broad Street and winds along the river to Bridge Street providing scenic views, benches and landscaping.

“ The River Trail is terrific --  a testament to our ability to work together to make Elizabeth greener,” said Mayor Chris Bollwage at the ceremony. “ Working with partners like Groundwork Elizabeth, the Union County Freeholders, and Green Acres, we are able to focus on projects that provide clean energy, open spaces and recreation.”

Notable features of the Trail include a slate medallion of the City of Elizabeth Seal, the historic Colonial-era St. John’s Parsonage House, wide pathways and plenty of seating. Paintings of historic locations throughout the city (which was NJ’s first Capital) are expected to be re-installed on the river’s fencing next month. On May 20th, the River Trail was a popular feature of the 750-rider, fifteen-mile Tour De Elizabeth recreational bike ride.

Other speakers at the ribbon cutting ceremony included Groundwork Elizabeth Executive Director Jonathan Phillips, Groundwork’s President Bob Varady, Assemblywoman of the 20th Legislative District Annette Quijano, Senator  Menendez’s Project Coordinator Betsy Gilligan, Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, and NJ DEP Program Development Specialist Bruce Bechtloff.

Subsequent phases are expected to extend the trail first to South Street and ultimately to the Arthur Kill where it will link with the “Hike, Bike and Roll” path along the waterfront. Funding for the project started with the 2006Transportation Act, which led to the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders Preservation Trust Fund, and NJ DEP Green Acres Program.

For more information on the Elizabeth River Trail and Groundwork Elizabeth’s mission to “ Change Places, Change Lives” contact Jonathan Phillips at 908-289-0262 or visit www.groundworkelizabeth.com.