Children from all over Hoboken have a new – and very interesting — place to play. Mayor Dawn Zimmer and local officials cut the ribbon on the new 5-acre “Pop-Up Park” in northwest Hoboken, on Monday, July 31.
The property was purchased by the city last year from BASF, a chemical company, after the City Council voted unanimously to authorize the $30 million purchase.
The purchase of the park property is funded through a low-interest loan from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Fund Program, which includes 19 percent principal forgiveness for the green infrastructure components. The debt for the loan is financed through Hoboken’s Open Space Trust Fund. A Hoboken Parking Utility (HPU) bond is financing the parking garage portion of the land acquisition.
The temporary park now on the land has cost $650,000 from a county Open Space Trust Fund into which county residents pay a small amount of tax each year. City Spokesman Juan Melli said, “about 64 percent of the costs are for items that can be reused in the future.”
Bounded by Adams and Madison streets and Twelfth and Thirteenth streets, the park includes standard playground equipment, but also: barbecues, picnic tables with an overhang, a large chess/checker board, a rock-climbing wall for kids, above-ground garden plots, a programmable space for theatrical performances or yoga classes, a bocce ball court, a multi-court space for different sports including tennis and basketball, a running course with fitness stations, water fountains, and a spray feature.
“The cool thing about the community garden is it allows you to meet your neighbors and talk to them.” – Judy Anderson
Hoboken resident Judy Anderson currently has one of the community garden plots in the park’s northeast corner. She uses the garden to grow tomatoes, wildflowers, and fresh herbs.
“I love it,” said Anderson. “There are not too many places I can grow a garden and this is great… The cool thing about the community garden is it allows you to meet your neighbors and talk to them. If you are just walking past each other on the street, you don’t really talk to them or get to know them.”
Council President Jennifer Giattino Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla, and Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano, all mayoral hopefuls this November, joined Zimmer at the ribbon cutting.
Permanent park progresses
The temporary park will eventually undergo construction to become the permanent Northwest Park, which will include green infrastructure, rain gardens, and a new water detention system able to hold 1 million gallons of water to remediate flooding in the area.
“This is really something that’s going to change this neighborhood and change the city,” said Zimmer. “This is just a pop-up park. We wanted everyone to enjoy the park right now, but once this is built out this will be our largest park in Hoboken, a 5-acre park. And I’m extremely, extremely proud of all we’ve gotten done.”
On an adjacent parcel of land, the city will build a municipal parking garage as part of the final design.
During Wednesday’s council meeting, the council voted unanimously to approve a contingent resolution for a contract for the design of the Northwest Park.
According to Melli, the permanent park is still at least four years away.
“We expect the community planning process, design, and permitting to take about two years, at which point construction would begin,” said Melli. “Construction could take approximately two years.”
When asked how much the city believes the park could cost, he said, “the cost estimate will depend on what the design of the park includes.”
Marilyn Baer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.