Hamilton Park, a square, green area of downtown Jersey City surrounded by historic rowhomes, dates back to 1848. After a $3.2 million renovation, it should reopen this summer with a fountain, a spray park, light poles, two dog runs, basketball and tennis courts, playgrounds, an amphitheater, and a community garden.
The park is one of three in the downtown area of the city are being transformed by city government, their neighbors, and in one case, by local companies.
Paulus Hook Park – also known as Four Corners Park – lies at the intersection of Washington and Grand streets, and is set to be renovated after residents complete a survey of how they want the area redesigned.
“Four benches that look out to the intersection – it’s not the community’s idea of a park.” – Stephanie Daniels
First, the major renovation of Hamilton Park, which started in April of last year. The city-run park is located between Eighth and Ninth Streets near the Holland Tunnel. Rows of stately brownstones overlook it on each side.
The renovation is being done by Green Construction from South River, N.J.
Neighbors have been pursuing the renovation since 2005, providing input to the city on how the park should be renovated.
City spokesperson Jennifer Morrill issued a brief statement about the current status of the renovation last week:
“Construction is close to completion, but the winter weather has stalled some of the final construction elements.”
At the present time, the park is completely fenced off to the public and there is no construction taking place.
Residents needing some green space can use the temporary park built last year by developers Paul and Eric Silverman of Exeter Property (developers of the Hamilton Square residential project overlooking the park) on a vacant lot on McWilliams Place across the street from Hamilton Park.
Paulus Hook Park
Residents living in the Paulus Hook area of downtown JC have sought for some time to further develop the unusual park, which includes three corners of developed land with some park benches, greenery, and a monument honoring the area of Revolutionary War action.
The fourth corner is occupied by classroom trailers belonging to the Jersey City Board of Education (BOE) for nearby Public School 16. However, the board has agreed to remove the trailers at the end of this school year. That means a neighborhood group, The Historic Paulus Hook Association (HPHA), and City Hall are moving forward with plans to redesign the park.
A survey is being conducted (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PHPark) to cull suggestions on redeveloping the four corners and will close on March 1. Results from the survey are scheduled to be presented on Thursday, April 1, at the HPHA monthly meeting held in OLC Community Hall, 114-118 Sussex St.
One of the residents wanting to see a new Paulus Hook Park is Stephanie Daniels, who has lived in the area since 1991. She says parents are seeking a playground, and want to make the park more appealing to the public.
“Four benches that look out to the intersection – it’s not the community’s idea of a park,” Daniels said.
It’s a small "pocket park" on the corner of Essex and Greene Streets. When it was active, it had a basketball court and a playground.
Now, Colgate Park is a torn-up landscape in the midst of a renovation that started last year. But when it is finished, it will hold a new basketball court and a new playground.
Work has currently halted due to the winter weather but is expected to be completed in the spring.
This project does not bear any effort from Jersey City government but instead is an example of a private-public partnership.
The park is under the control of the Colgate Center Property Owners Association, which consists of the major corporations who own land and/or operate businesses near the park – including Hartz Mountain Industries, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.
With the help of the community, they came up with a plan to rehabilitate the park.
City Councilman Steven Fulop, who lives a few blocks from the park, is “looking forward” to seeing its completion.
Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at email@example.com.