Exciting news! The New Jersey Hall of Fame is moving out of its 'mobile' home of the last ten years and is now moving in to the 'mega mall' off of the New Jersey Turnpike.
Inductee and MLB Superstar, Al Leiter says, "I think anybody watching this from New Jersey should be awfully proud."
New Jersey legends, like Al Leiter, as well as the Founders of the Hall of Fame broke ground at the east side of the where the American Dream Mall will be, formally known as the Izod Center.
The President of the Hall of Fame, Steve Edwards, says "You start with a vision, a vision of many, you never know what it will take how much time it would take. What adversity youll face. If this happened 5 years ago, it wouldn't have been moved to the Meadowlands with 40,000 people a day walking through it."
I met with the original sponsor of the bill, Senator Paul Sarlo. He said, "When we sponsored the original bill for the New Jersey Hall of Fame, we always knew we would need a home for it someday. There are so many great places in the state to host it, but I always had a strong feeling it would end up in my backyard."
The permanent home will be part of the $3 million dollar American Dream retail and entertainment complex, which is being built by the owners of the Mall of America.
When people drive by on the Jersey Turnpike, it is such a mystery. So I asked Steve Edwards what can we expect? What will the neighbors be of the Hall of Fame?
Steve replied, "I have had the good fortune to walk in and see the progress they are making inside. Already there is a roller coaster installed, lots to do. My depiction is Disneyworld 15 minutes outside of Manhattan."
Since the Hall of Fame’s inception in 2008, the board has inducted 140 of the most talented individuals from New Jersey.
Senator Sarlo added, "When you think about the people, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein to Bruce Springsteen, the breadth of talent, we have here in New Jersey. For those who like to kick New Jersey.. No more!"
NJEA Vice President, Sean Spiller says, "I think it shows that New Jersey is full of superstars. It really is about working hard. It's about having that guidance and support. That is something you can find here in New Jersey.
Jersey pride filled the room although Speaker Craig Coughlin admitted that, "Sometimes we get lost in the shadows of our friends, New York and Philadelphia, but I get it - We're from New Jersey and we're tough. We can laugh at ourselves a little bit. But mostly, we can do that because we know what a great place New Jersey is."
However, there is still a ways to go.
Steve Edwards adds, "We still got a lot of work to do. We need to raise another 4 million dollars, we need to build it, build it on time and on budget but well get there."
The American Dream mall is scheduled to open next spring and its likely that next year’s Hall of Fame Ceremony will take place here in the Meadowlands.
For the full story that aired on 'Jersey Matters,' check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fq7zdxBdOZE&feature=youtu.be&a
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