On Monday, residents met in the cafeteria of the Wallace Elementary School for the unveiling of the new Northwest Resiliency Park’s final concept design.
To the disappointment of many, the design included no court space for tennis or pickleball. But the park will include trails, a multi-use athletic field, and a large lawn for events. It will also integrate green infrastructure and innovative stormwater management measures to reduce flooding from heavy rain.
A temporary park currently exists in the space, on the 1200 block of Adams Street, to someday be replaced by the permanent park.
This park will be Hoboken’s largest, at 6 acres.
The city purchased the property for $30 million in 2016 from BASF, a chemical company. The purchase was financed by a state low-interest loan and Hoboken’s Open Space Trust Fund, which comes from property taxes.
In the summer of 2017 Hoboken opened the temporary “pop up park” which currently sits on 5 acres and cost roughly $650,000 from the county Open Space Trust Fund.
The design team for the Northwest Resiliency Park gathered information from residents through an online survey and through public listening sessions held throughout the city.
In February they presented two preliminary designs to the public, called Terrace & Trails and Forrest & Fields.
After collecting community feedback, the team created a final preferred concept, which they presented last Monday. It’s considered a hybrid.
It includes a multi-use athletic field in the southwest corner of the park (for soccer, baseball, and lacrosse), a forest-like garden area with trails and play spaces in the northwest corner, a central elevated plaza-like area with a café and community meeting space, and an open lawn on the eastern side envisioned as flexible event space.
The design also includes a fitness loop and stormwater gardens throughout the park.
The design would close Twelfth Street between Madison and Jefferson streets in order to provide for the multi-use athletic field.
Because of this the city is doing traffic studies to decide whether to switch the direction of a few one-way streets in the area.
“The tennis courts and pickle ball courts are heavily utilized. There are always lines of people on weekends waiting to play.” –Tim Occhipinti
Several residents stated that they were disappointed to see no court spaces included in the design.
Former Councilman Tim Occhipinti, who lives near the park, said, “The [existing] tennis courts and pickle ball courts are heavily utilized. There are always lines of people on weekends waiting to play.”
“I understand it’s a challenge in Hoboken,” said Occhipinti. “We are a small city but we have a large population, and there are already multi-use fields throughout town.”
Occhipinti said he would also like to see a community garden, as there is one now in the temporary park.
Matt Majer, who lives near the park, said he believed the design to be a “real disappointment.”
“I recognize that you couldn’t fit the tennis court and/or basketball courts that so many neighbors wanted,” he wrote in an email sent to the Reporter and the design team. “but to see a multi-use field that will significantly reduce the size and tranquility of the park [will] limit year-round access. Do we really have a need for a third soccer and Little League field in Hoboken? Is there really a burgeoning youth lacrosse contingency?”
Majer also added that weekend athletic events will make it difficult for residents to find parking and that the event space should be on the west side of the park.
Roark said that the feedback will help them with the park design and to get a cost analysis of the park construction. The project designers and engineers are also trying to determine what the park’s impact on parking and traffic could be.
They will also look into traffic calming measures like signage and bumpouts.
The park is expected to begin construction in 2019 at the earliest.
Marilyn Baer can be reached at email@example.com.