The Weehawken Township Council has authorized the sale of over $4 million in bonds, supplemented by $6 million in grants, to start developing a 3.5-acre waterfront park complex.
The township will finance the project in three phases, with most of the bill being paid for through various state and county grant programs. Bonding has now been authorized for the first two phases of construction.
Officials said that a bid for the third phase of the project, an 11,200-square-foot ice rink/multi-use pavilion, was much more costly than they’d projected. They will request bids again on the third portion of the complex.
“The only waterfront park in the county bigger than this one will be Liberty State Park.” — Mayor Richard Turner
“Altogether, Weehawken will have 16 acres of parks on the waterfront,” Mayor Richard Turner said. “That doesn’t include parking. Obviously, the waterfront is the most difficult area to build park space.”
Before construction begins, the developers had to add about 50 thousand cubic yards of soil to make the ground more compact and meet current floodplain standards. Turner said any excess soil will be ready for removal soon. Once removal is done, the first two phases of construction will begin promptly, because the township has received the necessary approvals from the state.
Phase one of the project, which involves the construction of a six-lane lap pool, recreation pool, wading pool, and splash park, as well as some fencing and landscape features, will cost about $6,100,000. All of phase one will be paid for in grants from Hudson County and New Jersey’s park development programs over a few years.
The second phase of the project, which will also be substantially covered by state and county grants, includes several of the park’s pavilions, the waterfront walkway, and all of the utilities connected to the park. This portion will cost the township about $4,139,000.
The township has set up a reserve fund of about $2,000,000 for unexpected emergency repairs that might come up during construction. According to Turner, the park’s opening will be a bit behind schedule, but there’s still hope that a portion of the pool complex will be open by August.
Phase three, the construction of an ice rink/multi-use pavilion, will likely take longer than any other portions of the park, since the township will request bids again after receiving a response from only one applicant that they deemed too high.
This project took years of planning by a waterfront committee, composed of more than 20 township officials, consultants, and residents.
There will also be facilities for volleyball, tennis, and basketball, along with a great lawn and lounge spaces. During the summer months, the ice rink will be used for roller skating and other uses.