Two resolutions adopted by the Guttenberg Town Council on Monday moved a longtime plan forward to build a waterfront park financed jointly by Guttenberg and North Bergen.
The council authorized the “interlocal” agreement with North Bergen to build the park. A second resolution awarded a $427,620 contract to Persistent Construction Company of Fairview for the first phase of the project.
The waterfront park is proposed for River Road on property straddling the border between the two towns.
“We’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel here.” – Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff
According to officials, much of the construction will be funded with government grant money, such as the Green Acres fund, a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection program that provides money to county and municipal governments to acquire land for open space and parks.
North Bergen Township Administrator Chris Pianese estimated that the despite the grant money obtained on behalf of both Guttenberg and North Bergen, roughly $900,000 will still have to be raised to finish the job. Both towns will continue to file for more government grants.
Pianese said government grants have been more accessible because two municipalities are sharing the park.
“It’s a powerful application because it’s a joint application,” said Pianese.
RSC Architects of Cliffside Park have designed the park. The plans can be viewed by visiting http://www.guttenbergnj.org/projects.
Mayors of both towns are optimistic about the progress.
“When it is completed it will give North Bergen and Guttenberg residents one of the most modern, beautiful public parks in the area with incredible views of New York,” said North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff, “but we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel here.”
Among the many facilities in the park will be what officials call an “amphitheater,” a series of large curved steps that lead down to the river’s edge.
“The steps will become seating, and people can lay down in the sun or read,” said Drasheff, comparing the “amphitheater” steps to those found in Sinatra Park in Hoboken. At the park in Hoboken, people can sit on brick steps and watch a band perform in front of the waterfront.
The park will also feature a large walkway, a parking area, restroom facilities, picnic areas, and a playground.
“It’s a pretty expensive area for kids to play on,” said Drasheff. “We hope to do some entertainment down there [as well].”
Drasheff said Guttenberg purchased its share of the lot about five years ago. “I think it’s a very good example of what can be accomplished when two towns get together. Neither one of us could have done this separately. You would have had a facility nowhere near as nice as it’s going to be.”
Although Drasheff initially predicted last September that the park would be ready by summer 2012, he said Monday that it will likely take longer.
“Most of the construction activity will be going on in the early part of summer,” said Drasheff. The towns may agree to open sections of the park to the public before its full completion.
Drasheff said he hopes the park will be open by spring, 2013.
Pianese said the park construction will be completed in two phases. During phase one, site work will be completed to stabilize the ground to prepare it for future construction. According to Pianese, the $427,620 contract to Persistent Construction Company will be solely for phase one of the construction.
“For phase one, the site work is estimated to take three months,” said Pianese, estimating that construction would begin in January. “They can work through the winter assuming we don’t have a massive snowfall.”
Pianese mentioned that phase two, which includes construction of the amphitheater, playground, and other facilities, will take place in the spring and summer of 2012.
“I’m going to say it will take the bulk of the warm weather [to complete],” said Pianese.
Stephen LaMarca may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.