Mayor Ravi Bhalla, elected officials, and residents celebrated the acquisition of an acre of land at Block 10 for the expansion of the city’s Southwest Resiliency Park and launched construction for the new pop-up park.
Last month, the city announced an agreement to acquire Block 10 from Academy Bus for $11 million.
Now, Block 10 – bounded by Marshall Street to the west, New York Avenue to the south, Harrison Street to the east, and buildings to the north- will become public, open space and double the size of the adjacent Southwest Resiliency Park.
“When I ran for Mayor, doubling the size of the Southwest Resiliency Park was a commitment that I made to Hoboken, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that in just a few months, residents will finally have access to this additional acre of open space,” said Mayor Bhalla. “Just like Hoboken’s previous popup park at the site of the Northwest Resiliency Park, the temporary park on Block 10 will provide immediate benefits while we design the permanent park. I look forward to celebrating with everyone this summer!”
The city officially began construction on the temporary popup park on Block 10, which will provide amenities to the community while the city undergoes a community design process for the permanent park over the next several months.
“I’m extremely excited to be able to have a popup park available to residents for the summer as we continue working with the community in the design and planning phase of the park,” said Fourth Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos. “This was a great collaboration between the administration, City Council and Academy, and this expansion will be the centerpiece in Southwest Hoboken.”
The design of the popup park incorporates feedback from local residents and includes a playground, shade structures, picnic tables, a basketball court, pickleball courts, community gardens, and additional programmable space using equipment from the former Northwest popup park.
The new popup park will include a community garden along the northeastern portion using above-ground planters as well as five painted pickleball courts in the southeast section.
A basketball court will be in the northwestern portion separated from the pickleball courts and garden space with painted games like hopscotch and four square and a central programmable space.
A playground will 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 will be separated from the pickleball courts with picnic tables and shade structures.
A fence will surround the park with an entrance along Harrison Street where temporary restrooms will be located.
The city began attempting to acquire the land under former Mayor Dawn Zimmer who thanked the mayor for carrying the initiative over the finishline.
“The expansion of the Southwest Park is great news for the Fourth Ward and all of Hoboken,” said Zimmer. “Thank you to Mayor Bhalla for ensuring this larger park. The transformation of Western Hoboken over the past decade through the acquisition of over 10 acres of new park space has been truly amazing.”
At-large Councilwoman Emily Jabbour thanked both mayors for prioritizing open space in Hoboken’s southwest.
“The first time I spoke at a City Council meeting as a resident was in 2017 to advocate for the expansion of the Southwest Park,” Jabbour said. “While I wasn’t living in that immediate neighborhood, I knew the importance of acquiring this property to ensure that all Hoboken residents would have the benefit of open space. Urban open spaces have tremendous benefits for our community, which has become all the more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
No impact on the budget
The popup park is expected to open in about two months.
The city will begin a formal process to solicit community input into the design of the permanent Southwest Park expansion on Block 10, starting in the fall of 2021.
Of the $11 million for the acquisition of the land, $900,000 comes from grant funding from Hudson County’s Open Space Trust Fund, $1 million from grant funding from Green Acres, and the balance from the Municipal Open Space Trust fund, which is dedicated to the acquisition and development of open space. The acquisition will have no impact on the city’s budget, according to the city.
“On behalf of County Executive DeGise and the Board of Commissioners, Hudson County is proud to support Hoboken’s expansion of parkland through the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund,” said Hudson County Commissioner Anthony Romano. “It will be amazing to see the transformation of land that has sat vacant into a park that everyone can be proud of. This is what happens when the government and community work together.”