Hoboken’s Director of Environmental Services Jennifer Gonzalez presented two design possibilities for a new popup park just west of the Southwest Resiliency Park.
It would be on block 10, a parking lot owned by Academy Bus which the city has moved to purchase for $11 million to expand the Southwest Resiliency Park by an additional acre.
While the city plans to go through a formal community design process over the next several months to design the park’s expansion, it also plans to allow the public to use the space this summer by installing a temporary popup park similar to how the city used the Northwest Resiliency Park site before construction on the permanent park began.
According to Gonzalez, the city plans to reuse equipment from the former Northwest popup park at the southwest popup park which will be bounded by Marshall Street to the west, New York Avenue to the south, Harrison Street to the east, and buildings to the north.
Gonzalez presented two options.
Option one would include a community garden along the northeastern portion of the land using above-ground planters as well as five painted pickleball courts in the southeast section.
A basketball court would be in the northwestern portion separated from the pickleball courts with a shade structure, picnic tables, and a central programmable space.
A playground would be in the southwestern part constructed on top of an existing uneven concrete surface, which the city will level by installing a safety surface.
The playground would be separated from the pickleball courts with painted games like four square and hopscotch.
In the second option the community garden and playground would remain in the same locations but the central programmable space, as well as the area for foursquare and hopscotch, would be replaced with two additional pickleball courts.
The shade structure and tables would be in the northwestern section of the property with four square and hopscotch between it and the playground.
The basketball court would be nearer the pickleball courts.
In both options, a fence would surround the entire park with an entrance along Harrison Street where temporary restrooms would be located.
According to a live poll taken during the virtual meeting, the majority of attendees preferred the first option.
As for the amenities, playground ranked first followed by picnic area with shade, basketball court, pickleball court, community garden, programmable space, and painted games like four square.
Several residents spoke about the need for pickleball in Hoboken, noting that the courts were much used when they were in the Northwest Popup Park. Since the city began construction on the permanent park, players have had to go elsewhere as there are no longer courts in Hoboken.
Resident Eugene, 68, said he thoroughly enjoys the sport, which people of all ages can play.
“You can play with people in their 80s and in their 20s … Senior citizens have been left out of this discussion really when there’s a lot of us who like to play,” he said.
Hoboken resident Greg Dell’Aquila said he felt the city should reconsider where it places the tables and shade, noting that parents would most likely use them and want to be closer to the playground to watch their kids.
Aileen McGuirk, a southwest Hoboken resident and school board member, said the area needs more playground space and basketball courts as many families live in the southwest.
She echoed Dell’Aquila’s statements on relocating the seating area.
“The more shade and tables we can get the better,” she said.
She and several others asked the city to widely circulate the two options as many people could not attend the meeting which would allow the city to get more accurate feedback from the community.
According to Gonzalez, the city hopes to complete the final popup park design and cost estimates by May 5.
The council will vote on a contract to construct the popup park at its May 19 meeting with construction starting on May 24.
The park will officially open by July 4.