The Leonard Gordon Park Conservancy (LGPC) congratulates the City Council for unanimously approving the resolution in mid-November to move forward to improve Leonard Gordon Park. The conservancy looks forward to working with NV5, Inc., and the JC Parks Coalition to promote public engagement in the process.
The land for the park was purchased by the city in the early 1900s, and the famous Bison and Bear sculptures date back to 1907. The park enjoyed major development in the New-Deal-era Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s, and sidewalk enhancements around 1986. In more recent years, a patchwork of band-aid efforts has included maintaining basic amenities, replacing the small playground, improving lighting, and resurfacing two of the sports courts. Volunteers have planned garden spaces, particularly at the park entrances. Meanwhile, ineffective drainage has taken its toll, and the iconic landmark sculptures have been neglected. We look forward to community stakeholders working with the contracted agency to pursue a coherent visioning process that will optimize both the passive and active aspects of the park, and craft a timeframe for phased renovations and bold ideas to improve and sustain this community gem. This builds upon the visioning session held last December. We applaud the emphasis on landscape sustainability, celebrating the diversity in the Heights, and engaging with community.
There are opportunities to partner with day-care centers, schools, community and service groups, the Hudson County 4-H and neighborhood associations, as well as local businesses. Indeed, the major events organized in 2017 by the Leonard Gordon Park Conservancy have proven the community wants to utilize the park and see improvements. Over 1,000 children and adults participated in the LGPC Easter Egg Hunt last Spring, and Halloween Bash last month. We have also coordinated the Heights Live music series, which brought free, live music performances by local musicians to the park throughout the summer. Volunteers for the Heights segment of the Great JC Clean-Up also convened from the park. In late summer, there was a day when the park was used for nearly a dozen concurrent purposes. , including a child’s birthday picnic, a photo-shoot, basketball, pick-up soccer/football, a scout group learning about nature, a youth learning to ride a bike in one of the courts, children chasing in the playground, wiffle ball on the hill-top and cricket on the lower field. All this was in addition to dog-run activities, people watching the sunset, individuals exercising, and small groups of people conversing on benches, in the grassy field, and on the gazebo steps. We are succeeding in bringing the public back into the park. Now is the time for the public to be engaged in visioning the future for park improvements. For updates and announcements of public meetings, visit the Leonard Gordon Park Conservancy’s Facebook page.
President, Leonard Gordon Park Conservancy