The plan will map out all the city's parks and playgrounds as part of a long term effort to upgrade facilities and to figure out how many more acres the city needs in passive and active recreation space.
There are 67 parks and playgrounds in Jersey City, from Enright-Martyniak Park only blocks away from the Jersey City/Bayonne border, to Riverview-Fisk Park on Palisade Avenue.67 parks
The city retained the services of T&M Associates, a Middletown, N.J.-based consulting firm, to create the city's parks master plan. They will work with the city's Division of Parks and Forestry and Division of Architecture during the process of creating it by late August.
The Planning Department will implement changes and/or corrections to draft, and a final master plan will be submitted for public hearing and adoption to the Planning Board then the City Council.
The parks master plan will be incorporated into the city's overall master plan.
The city has had several meetings, with the first two for residents in wards C & D combined on March 22, and Ward E alone already occurring this past Thursday.
There's another meeting scheduled for this Wednesday at the Mary McLeod Bethune Center at 140 Martin Luther King Drive for residents of Ward B and F.
A meeting for Ward A residents is still pending. Public gives feedback
Approximately 30 people showed up for Thursday's community meeting at City Hall, armed with dozens of questions. Jeffrey Bottler, a landscape architect at T&M Associates, made opening remarks.
"I have not seen a recreation master plan fail, I've have only seen them make really substantial improvements to various cities," said Bottler.
The public spoke of expanding certain parks.
Dr. Richard Winant who lives on Greene Street in the Paulus Hook area with his wife Dorsey, said, "We have no real parks." He said the existing open space sites in the vicinity of his home needed to be developed.
He addressed the need to build out Paulus Hook Park on Washington Street so that three corners of the park are passive and one corner for a children's playground.
He also wanted to see Veterans Park at the foot of Washington Street developed, as well as Dudley Street near the Hudson River waterfront, and Peninsula Park overlooking Liberty State Park.
"The reality is, we would like a lot of passive land for people," he said. "A community is judged by its ability to deal with its children and its older people....and we have failed at that terribly in this city."
Some residents complained that the city did not communicate enough with the public to let them know about community meetings with the planners. Visited every site
Jeffrey Bottler has at least 40 years of experience in urban planning. His firm in the late 1980s created a parks master plan the Hudson County parks system, and has also created master plans for the Essex and Union County parks and more recently for the city of Teaneck.
Since mid-February, Bottler and other consultants from his firm have visited every one of Jersey City's open space sites.
"We are looking at 67 existing sites, developed or undeveloped," he said last week. "It's the largest municipal recreational master plan my firm has done in terms of sites. What we are doing is a 10-year guide for improvement that will carry [the city] through to 2016."
He admitted that some members of his team have had more problems in visits to parks in Ward A, which spans from the Jersey City/Bayonne border to Culver Avenue near New Jersey City University. He said they have faced some resistance to their work.
While an enormous undertaking to put together a master plan in six months, Bottler is confident.
"I like the process; I like it a lot," he said. "The local people know their concerns." Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org