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Park space re-imagined

Three design concepts for Harborside Park unveiled

The bloom? The Meadow? The Ridge? Your pick.

Programming space, an elevated outlook, and native plantings are all possibilities for the redesign of Harborside Park as part of the city’s Rebuild By Design project.

The project team announced three design concepts for Harborside Park at two public workshops last week, all of which provide play space for children, greenery, and views of the waterfront.

The Rebuild By Design project aims to protect the city from flooding caused by storm surges such as Hurricane Sandy that flooded the mile-square city in 2012 damaging homes and businesses.

The project, funded with $230 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, calls for construction of flood-resistant structures and storm-water control systems to protect areas vulnerable to flooding along Weehawken Cove to the north, and in and around NJ Transit’s Hoboken rail yard to the south. The structures include flood walls and soft landscaping such as berms and levees.

The three concepts

According to Mayor Ravi Bhalla, the new park will expand the existing waterfront park and add two additional acres of open space; the parks amenities and elevated features will fit in with the natural landscape of the new park.

“This will be one of the first parks in the country to combine a natural park with innovative above-ground flood infrastructure to protect from coastal flooding,” he said.

Dennis Reinknecht of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said, “We are going to build a storm surge strategy in that park to prevent the storm surge from the river coming through that area. But for the 99.9 percent of the time when it’s not activated for the storm, it’s a beautiful place and a beautiful public space that you are proud of and want to spend your time in.”

The three concept designs are The Bloom, The Meadow, and The Ridge.

Each concept integrates a “central spine” which extends from 16th and Park Avenue to 15th and Garden Streets as part of the northern resist alignment.

This spine is composed of two technical components, a T resist structure up to 12 feet high and two retractable flood gates which will be deployed along tracks in the ground to protect the city during major storms.

The Bloom concept separates the park into four quadrants with a central shaded outlook and raised walkways.

It includes trees and plantings.

It has an open lawn space in the northeast, active court space in the northwest, main entrance and play area in the southwest, and garden terraces in the southeast.

The Meadow concept includes sloping fields on either side of the spine, like a pencil under a napkin, separating the park into two areas. The waterside area to the east will include a garden plaza, an open lawn with views surrounded by large amphitheater-like seating. On the western side, it will include active court space, a dog park, and playground space.

It also includes two plazas on the northern and southern portions of the park as well as plantings and winding walkways.

The Ridge concept focuses on the elevated center of the park’s spine and extends an elevated walkway out above the water creating a raised outlook with shade.

The park includes a dog park and active court space to the west, a play area to the south, and greenery to the east.

Next steps

The Rebuild by Design project team gathered public feedback during the two public meetings on the possible park designs and will use that feedback to present two design concepts at a public meeting in the spring.

The final design will be presented at a public meeting in July.

In the meantime, two more Rebuild by Design workshops are scheduled for this month.

One is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 13 at the Elysian Charter School at 1460 Garden St., to discuss the design of the Washington Street Alleyway alignment of the resist structures in Northern Hoboken. The workshop will run from 7 to 9 p.m.

The second workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 19 at St. Lawrence RC Church at 22 Hackensack Ave. in Weehawken from 7 to 9 p.m.

This meeting will address design zones one and two, which include the resist structures from southern Weehawken into Harborside Park.

For updates on this and other stories keep checking www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.

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