Open space on the horizon

Journal Square to get three-acre park

A new three-acre park will be constructed where the current Hudson County Administration Building is.
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A new three-acre park will be constructed where the current Hudson County Administration Building is.

Jersey City’s Journal Square neighborhood is slated to get its first park, according to an announcement by Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise and Mayor Steven Fulop.

According to the announcement, the county and the city will partner to create a roughly three-acre park as part of the construction of the Honorable Frank J. Guarini Justice Complex.

The new complex will replace the antiquated Hudson County Administration Building at 595 Newark Ave. and partially renovate the historic William J. Brennan Courthouse.

“Our partnership will create a beautiful new public park for residents to enjoy as the new courthouse complex serves as a catalyst for the revitalization of Journal Square,” DeGise said. “This long-overdue project will not only serve as an anchor for the neighborhood but will also deliver much-needed traffic and circulation improvements.”

The complex history

The Hudson County Administrative building was constructed in the 1960s. Since the 1980s, several studies have determined that the building is inadequate, overburdened, and should be replaced.

The existing administration building contains state and county courtrooms, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and other county offices.

The new Honorable Frank J Guarini Justice Complex will be across Newark Avenue from the current courthouse and house 24 Courtrooms, Hearing and Mediation Rooms, Grand Jury and Jury Assembly spaces, Courts Administration, the Hudson County Prosecutor, the Surrogate, and the Sheriff’s Department.

The complex will be bounded by Newark Avenue, Oakland Avenue, Route 139, and a new two-way Central Avenue extension that will be constructed between Hoboken Avenue and Newark Avenue.

Cook Street will be removed. Oakland Avenue, currently a one-way street, will be widened to accommodate two-way traffic.

The reconfigured street network will improve traffic flow through the neighborhood and facilitate access to the Journal Square Transportation Center.

The project is estimated to cost roughly $400 million.

New park

After the Hudson County Administration Building offices have been relocated to the new facility, Jersey City will pay for the demolition and removal of the old building. Hudson County will turn over the property to the city to use it for public open space.

“This agreement will bring the first park to the Journal Square area, where many kids and adults alike who live or work in the area will now have an open public space to enjoy,” Fulop said.  “This is the latest example not only of our continued efforts to transform areas in need of improvement for the betterment of our residents, but it also highlights the importance of partnerships between city and county government. I also want to thank our local neighborhood organizations for working with us to find a plan that best meets the community’s needs.”

Councilman Richard Boggiano who represents the area on the Jersey City Council said the green space was much needed in Ward C.

“With development happening everywhere in my ward, I’m really excited to have something like this for the thousands of people and families who live near Journal Square,” he said.

Founder of the Courthouse Park Advocacy Group Laura Moss said it was a dream come true.

“The Courthouse Park Advocacy Group is thrilled to see our dream of a new public park being created in the heart of Ward C become a reality,” Moss said. “We wish to thank the City and the County for listening to the needs of our community and working together with us on this very important issue. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, and we look forward to continuing our support of this venture to create a world-class green space for all residents and visitors to enjoy.”

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