The House of Representatives will vote today whether to designate a new park in Paterson, N.J.
Yes, Paterson, N.J., the third-most populous city in the country's most densely populated state.
But Paterson is home to the Great Falls, which is second -- in terms of width and volume -- to only Niagara Falls among waterfalls East of the Mississippi, according to USA Today.
New Jersey is setting aside its own pot of money -- $10 million -- to make the land around the waterfall a state park. The city itself is historic for its role in the rise of U.S. manufacturing, and that manufacturing was built on power from the falls.
Like many urban streams, the Passaic River has suffered from a variety of insults since colonization and industrialization of the American landscape. It has been dammed for power, had sewage and industrial poisons dumped in it. It's been channeled, built around and on. It's been all but abandoned.
And now, it has a chance to be reborn. Like other cities, Paterson is looking to its natural resources as a way to attract new investment and population.
If the city once celebrated by poet William Carlos Williams isn't ripe for such a rebirth, than no American city is.
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