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Dennis Collins Park renovations to resume

Dennis Collins Park environmental cleanup will resume this month.
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Dennis Collins Park environmental cleanup will resume this month.

Renovations to Dennis Collins Park will move forward after the resumption of environmental cleanup efforts in September.

Renovations started in March, but the contractor, PPG, suspended operations in late April to prevent workers from being exposed to COVID-19.

PPG is set to resume environmental cleanup this month, which must be completed before renovations resume.

“In recent weeks, I have received questions from residents about the situation at Dennis P. Collins Park, which is located at Bergen Point, between 1st Street and the Kill Van Kull,” Mayor James Davis said. “The City of Bayonne has plans to continue a series of renovations at the park. However, those park improvements have been on hold, pending the completion of environmental cleanup work at the park.”

In August, Davis said he held a phone conference with PPG officials, who estimated that the environmental work will resume by September. Due to this and later construction, parts of Dennis Collins Park are closed temporarily.

Cleaning up chromium

The environmental cleanup involves the removal of contaminates from the soil.

“At Collins Park, as is the case with many other locations, too, the soil contains chromate, which was used as fill during the 20th century,” Davis said. “In some cases, it is not clear which company was responsible for the fill that was placed in certain locations. Under a court settlement in 2009, PPG took responsibility to clean up various sites where it was unclear who the responsible party was.”

Clean replacement soil will be added.

In the phone conference with PPG, Davis raised concerns by residents regarding whether heavy rains have caused environmentally damaged soil to run off into the streets.

“Apparently, the damaged areas have been contained,” Davis said. “According to PPG, before work stopped a few months ago, the company covered all the areas that they felt were an issue.”

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Weston, an independent technical consultant, concurred with PPG’s decision, Davis said. The site is inspected weekly.

“We look forward to the completion of their work, so that we can start another round of park improvements,” Davis said.

The environmental work is expected to be completed in 2021. Additional park improvements will move forward that have been on hold.

Phase II underway

After Phase I of renovations, an environmental cleanup began to remove 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 continue into Phase II, which began in March.

“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 in January.

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.

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.

Along the Kill Van Kull shoreline near Collins Park, riprap needs to be removed. According to Davis, these stones do not meet the specifications for the shoreline area.

The stones have been tested and approved to be moved to Veterans’ Park along Newark Bay, near Ahern Veterans’ Stadium. In that new location, the stones will help reinforce the Newark Bay shoreline and assist future waterfront walkway construction.

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.

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