Hamilton Park, located in a historic brownstone neighborhood in downtown Jersey City blocks away from the Holland Tunnel, reopened with a ribbon cutting on May 27 after a $3.2 million renovation.
The popular park includes new tennis courts, a new fountain, two dog runs, basketball courts, playgrounds, an amphitheater, new lighting, and a community garden.
Residents will hold another celebration on Saturday, June 12, when the 25th Annual Hamilton Park Festival begins at 10 a.m. It will include vendors, music, and family activities.
Mayor Jerramiah Healy presided over the May 27 re-opening. It featured a performance by the McNair Academic High School Chorus and comments from various guests.
“It’s a dream come true.” – Jan Nordland
“Now we get to enjoy the park,” Ertel said. “But we need to remember [that] each of us needs to respect it and others by keeping it clean so all can enjoy.”
Fulop was not in attendance. He was at his job in Manhattan while the daytime ceremony took place, and some attendees questioned if the event was scheduled so as assure his absence. Fulop, who is expected to challenge Healy for the mayoralty in three years, said the scheduling mishap was “okay” and that he is glad the park is again open.
“It is really a testament to the Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association, whose efforts drove the renovation from start to finish,” Fulop said.
Developer Paul Silverman, who along with his brother Eric developed the Hamilton Square residence located near the park, thanked all the persons involved in the renovation project. Eric Silverman announced he and his brother are providing the park with free Wi-Fi to allow park users to have internet access.
The cost of the renovation came purely from city taxpayers.
Making an old park brand new
The renovation of Hamilton Park was five years in the making.
From June to October 2005, the Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association sponsored a balloting process for park users to submit on paper what they wanted to see or not see in a newly renovated park. The information was put into four different concept plans drawn up by the engineering firm Schoor DePalma, and residents voted on the plans in June 2007.
Nearly two more years passed – with further changes to the design and layout – before the project got underway in May of last year. However, Hamilton Park aficionados were not left without a park. The Silverman brothers dedicated some property located across the street from Hamilton Park to be used as an alternative park.
The renovation work required preliminary improvements and changes, including tree removal, new curbs and sidewalks surrounding the park, and work on water and sewer lines underneath the park as well as the changes seen in the park at its reopening.
Glen Wrigley, the city’s architect, at the May 27 event called the opening of the renovated park a “rewarding aspect” of his job.
“I think it is all summed up by looking at that crowd in the playground; they look like they are having a good time,” Wrigley said. “And I hope you enjoy it for many years to come.”
Jan Nordland, a nearby resident for six years, called the park “absolutely gorgeous.”
“It’s a dream come true,” Nordland said. “Hopefully people will follow the rules and this could be a continued oasis.”
Nordland is also looking forward to the annual Hamilton Park Festival, or Parkfest. It will include a flea market, information tables from local businesses and non-profit organizations, and a tennis demonstration by representatives of the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at email@example.com.