Renovations at Dennis Collins Park postponed due to COVID-19

The contractor will let the city know when renovations will continue

Mayor Dennis P. Collins Park, in Bergen Point in Bayonne
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Mayor Dennis P. Collins Park, in Bergen Point in Bayonne

Municipal park renovations planned at Dennis Collins Park in Bayonne have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Renovations have been ongoing since March 31. But now the contractor, PPG, has suspended operations to prevent COVID-19 virus exposure for workers.

A spokesperson for the city told the Bayonne Community News that PPG will let the city know when it plans to resume renovations.

Mayor James Davis initially announced the continuation of improvements to municipal parks on Jan. 13.

“We will be taking important steps during 2020 to improve Mayor Dennis P. Collins Park, Mayor Francis G. Fitzpatrick Park, 28th Street Park, Dr. David Morris Park, Russell Golding Park, and Cottage Street Park,” Davis announced at the time.

The city completed Phase I of the improvements to Collins Park in 2018. This included new playground and exercise equipment, renovated tennis courts, a new volleyball court, new dog runs, new trees, and benches, among other improvements.

Now Phase II is underway. Improvements in Phase II include the construction of new basketball courts, playgrounds, and handicapped entrances. According to Davis, the city will also reconstruct the parking lot.

But before Phase II can begin, further environmental cleanup efforts must take place.

Chromium in the soil

An environmental remediation began in portions of Collins Park on March 31. This work must be done before the park improvements can be started.

In Phase I, an environmental cleanup of the park removed soil that contained chromium and other elements that were used as fill in the 20th century, according to Davis. Efforts to remove further contaminated soil continued into Phase II.

Clean replacement soil will be added. Due to this and later construction activities, parts of Collins Park were closed temporarily.

Davis told the community that some parking changes will be occurring in the area in addition to the temporary closure of the park.

The contractor for the environmental cleanup at Collins Park moved a portion of the fence line from just north of the curb and West First Street to south of the sidewalk. According to Davis, this enabled street parking to resume along the approximately 500-foot-long stretch from the tennis courts to the bathrooms in the park.

The contractor moved a portion of the fence line immediately to the west of the area mentioned above, from south of the sidewalk to just north of the curb on West First Street. This was meant to accommodate the environmental excavation required in the sidewalk area.

As a result of the fence shift, no parking is permitted along the approximately 500-foot-long stretch of the street from around Seaview Court to Islandview Court. Davis said that signs announcing the new parking restrictions have been posted.

It is not clear when the renovations will resume or when residents can again use the park.

While Davis ordered all municipal playgrounds to close due to COVID-19, all municipal parks in Bayonne have remained open for passive use only.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.