The field, along with a dog run and a viewing hill, comprises the first phase of the larger Hoboken Cove project, which will someday cover 4 acres of uptown and stretch from Willow Avenue to the riverfront. The field is designed for soccer, baseball and lacrosse, and is open to all residents, including those who wish to obtain permits for league use.
“I think this is going to be a great thing for residents of uptown Hoboken, but also every resident,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer last week. “We’ve got 1000 kids in recreation programs and not a lot of places for them to play, so this is a great thing for them.”
Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, who agreed years ago to let Hoboken recreation leagues use fields in the neighboring township, poked fun at Zimmer and said that in return for the favor, he’d like the Hoboken Cove park to be renamed after Weehawken.
“No one is more happy about the completion of this field than me, because Hoboken’s been taking up half our field space for years,” he said. “But seriously, it’s tough to find open space in urban areas, you either have to find space or knock something down, so this is a great example of what you can build when everyone’s involved.”
The land that the park is built on was originally meant to be two residential towers, but the newly-formed Hoboken Parks Organization and the administration of former mayor David Roberts worked to uphold zoning ordinances that would stop the towers from being built. Later, a combination of grants from Hudson County and the Trust for Public Land allowed the city to purchase the land for around $7 million in 2006.
Roberts, under whom the project began, attended the ceremony at the invitation of Zimmer, and spoke about the potential for good government to create projects such as 1600 Park.
“Over the past 30 years or so, you can look at the greatest accomplishments in Hoboken’s history, and all of them came as a result of good government,” he said. “When we can compromise and work together, that’s when things get done. When there’s partisan bickering, that’s when things begin to slow down.”
Also in attendance at the ceremony were Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, Chairman of the Chosen Board of County Freeholders Anthony Romano, Hoboken Councilpeople Beth Mason, Peter Cunningham, Jen Giattino, Ravi Bhalla, David Mello, and Tim Occhipinti. The general manager of the New York Red Bulls, Jérôme de Bontin, and the director of the New Jersey office of the Trust for Public Land, also attended. – Dean DeChiaro