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National Park Service:  Great Falls Historic District Study Act of 2001

The National Park Service (NPS) announced the beginning of a Special Resource Study (SRS) and Environmental Impact Statement of the historic district as part of the federal act (introduced by U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell) to study the suitability and feasibility of designating the district as a unit of the National Park System.

The public was invited by NPS Community Planner Ms. Patricia Iolavera to the first meeting to share ideas, concerns and visions with NPS representatives.  She stated that the NPS "over the next several months will be gathering information and opinions, communicating with interested individuals and agencies, and working hard to produce a SRS that helps to preserve the Great Falls Historic District for the education and enjoyment of future generations of Americans."

View Herald News articles, A Landmark Decision, Push Builds for National Park .

Scope of Work Prepared for the Cultural Resource Survey

A revised scope of work for a full survey of the cultural resources on the ATP Site has been prepared by Historic Conservation and Interpretation, Inc. (HIC), the industrial archeology consulting firm established by the late Ed Rutsch.  As laid out by HIC, the cultural resources survey will consist principally of three phases:  Documentary Research, Evaluation of the Cultural Landscape, and Infield Investigations.

View Herald News article, First Step to Saving Great Falls Site: Clearing Weeds for Historical Survey .

Paterson Riverfront Design Workshop

The public was invited to the "Paterson Riverfront Design Workshop" an informal planning session for improvements to land along the Passaic River near the Great Falls. Participants sketched ideas, established priorities, and focused on objectives for improving the riverfront. The April 2003 workshop included a tour of the riverfront, group discussions, a reception and presentation of concept plans. The Waterfront Center conducted the workshop and prepared a final report, "Paterson Riverfront Strategy and A Community Participatory Planning Workshop Report." Paterson Mayor Joey Torres stated in a November 6, 2003 letter: “We have started to implement many of the recommendations in the report. The City has recently awarded a contract for demolition of a portion of the former ATP Site. An application has been submitted to the Passaic County Open Space Fund for improvements to Overlook Park. We expect to receive funding for a rehabilitation of Mary Ellen Kramer Park under the State of NJ Green Acres program.” The public is invited by the mayor to write Mr. Michael Wing, Executive Director of the Paterson Historic Preservation Commission to participate in an advisory committee to help guide the city in these efforts.  


Raceway Cleanup

Weed trees and brush were removed from the strip of land between the upper and middle raceways in Raceway Park. The uncontrolled growth was causing damage to the raceway retaining walls and obstructing views. The River Restoration program of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners removed the trees under supervision of Bob DeVita and Frank Dumschat.  Mike Wing of the Paterson Historic Preservation Commission monitored effects to historic resources.  Mr. DeVita plans to continue the tree removal work in other areas of the historic district.

Funds from the Urban History Initiative (UHI) are earmarked for the recondition of the upper raceway. A new lining will be installed, as well as new landscaping.

View Passaic Valley Sewage Commission article, PVSC Begins Cleanup of Paterson's Historic Raceway System,

ATP Site Emergency Site Clearing

Due to a homicide on July 25, 2002 on the Allied Textile Printing (ATP) Site, the City of Paterson issued a Declaration of Emergency that stated that the site in its current state was unsafe and dangerous to human life and the public welfare. The city stated it would complete the following work to secure the site from use by the homeless: secure the existing chain link fence, install additional fence and lighting as required, remove brush and trees without disturbing the ground, and remove debris and trash.

Additionally, the city received approval from the National Park Service and the NJ Historic Preservation Office to use UHI funding to demolish one non-contributing historic structure and stabilize two structures that were being used by the homeless. An access route will be constructed adjacent to the Great Falls lower observation area in Overlook Park to facilitate the demolition work. Another access route will be cleared of debris from the former ATP entrance at the east end at Van Houten Street.

The Louis Berger Group, an engineering and cultural resource consulting firm, was contracted to prepare emergency approach documents for this work. Their Project Manual is available at the offices of the city clerk, the Department of Community Development, and the Paterson Historic Preservation Commission for viewing. A contract was awarded for this demolition and stabilization work. The Louis Berger Group will act as Construction Managers, which will include cultural resource monitoring, structural engineering, and environmental oversight (hazardous materials remediation.)

ATP Site Stabilization

$1.67 Million of UHI funding has been allocated to identify the historic resources on the entire ATP Site, stabilize the ruins, and remove hazardous materials. These funds will also be used for "development of historic and public site elements" such as "pavement, Belgian block curbs, walkways, demolition/ earthwork/ grading/ site preparations/ subgrade rubble, historic foundations and walls/use with new construction, landscaping, Waverly Mill Stabilization, smoke stack/plaza, river walk rehabilitation, historic river walk, Colt Mill Plaza, refurbish Middle Race and Colt Mill Stabilization."

A Programmatic Agreement was executed between the National Park Service, the NJ Historic Preservation Office, the City of Paterson, the NJ Historic Trust and the U.S. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation that set the terms and conditions of the UHI work on the ATP Site. View Contacts. On December 4, 2002, the city issued a "Written Description of City's Approach," a proposal of how the city will address each of the requirements and recommendations of the Historic Industrial Site Analysis (HISA). Their stated prioritization of the use of the UHI funds is as follows:

  1. Completion of all work related to the City of Paterson's emergency declaration on July 26, 2002.

  2. Engagement of a combined Project Management and Research Team to perform research, in-field testing, develop plans, and monitor execution of site clearing, cultural resources survey, hazardous material abatement, stabilization of elements to retain, and demolition of remaining elements.

  3. Selective demolition and stabilization and in-field testing necessary to complete Stage One Cultural Resource Survey.

  4. Construction of first phase of the River Wall / River Walk project with funding from Green Acres ($500,000), NJ Department of Transportation ($250,000) and the balance from UHI.

  5. Closure of underground storage tanks.

  6. Stabilization of all elements specified to be retained in the amended HISA and the demolition or removal of any remaining elements.

  7. Construction of second phase of the River Wall / River Walk project.

The city has asked the Louis Berger Group to submit a proposal for the professional services of Project Management and Cultural Resource Studies.

Colt Gun Mill Stabilization

The New Jersey Historic Trust has granted the City of Paterson a $359,000 state matching grant through the New Jersey Preservation Bond Fund for the stabilization of the Colt Gun Mill on the ATP Site. During the first phase, portions of the mill's walls were removed and stored. Then, temporary bracing was erected.

During the second phase, Greentree Contracting Company removed debris from the interior of the mill and outside the rear loading dock. The Louis Berger Group is preparing the cultural resources report of these activities.


Historic Industrial Site Analysis:  ATP Site

Susan Maxman Architects of Philadelphia, associated with Notter Architects of Washington D.C., along with a team of historians, engineers, landscape architects and archeologists were retained by the National Park Service to identify resources within the ATP Site, to evaluate their significance and to make recommendations related to the remaining site components.

The study of the historical evolution of the ATP Site, both within its boundaries and in context with the larger industrial area, pointed to certain physical features of importance.  Among them were the density of the buildings, the massing, access ways, and the site's principal organizing feature - its relationship to the water, both the river and the network of raceways.

Through architectural and structural investigation it was determined that certain of the ruins are capable of stabilization and that, among those, there are a sufficient number, which if retained as components of new physical site development, will provide interpretation of the ATP Site and enable its visual integration with the remainder of the district.  At the same time, archeological evaluation established areas of sensitivity within the site, areas where there are recognized indications that in-ground remains of potential historic value are present and must be dealt with.

A series of recommendations has been established to guide future development of the site, some of which are mandatory and others of which are suggestions.  They have been developed in compliance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and with the goal of allowing for successful development while at the same time protecting the past and the ATP Site's role in the history of Paterson.