Jersey City has committed to building a one-acre perimeter park around City Hall, with the council expected to vote on a request for proposals next week.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Additionally, inside City Hall, the design process is moving forward to build out the unoccupied fourth-floor space to add employee offices and conference rooms occupied by the newly created Department of Infrastructure.
An RFP to acquire a consultant for the design and construction of Jersey City’s first-ever City Hall Park will go before the council at their December 14th meeting.
“Any time of day, you will find people walking their dogs or socializing in front of City Hall, and this will be the latest addition to the dozens of new parks we’ve built and park improvements completed in recent years as part of our efforts to expand critical community amenities and further invest in residents’ health and wellness,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.
“At the same time, we are taking proactive steps to restore the inside of the 126-year-old building to increase efficiency for resident services and ensure City Hall can continue serving as a contributing asset for the City of Jersey City.”
The exterior transformation includes significant improvements to the plaza in front of City Hall along Grove Street, including greening the concrete hardscape in both the front and back of the building and replacing the concrete with tree plantings, flower gardens, and other landscaping for beautification and stormwater absorption. Benches, picnic tables, and lighting will also be added throughout the grounds.
To increase the amount of open space created, the employee parking lot behind City Hall will be removed and converted into park space to nearly double the size of the new green space for the public to enjoy.
Furthermore, the City Hall Park design will utilize recommendations from the recently completed Open Space Master Plan and the soon-to-be-completed Year of Open Space, both of which underwent robust outreach processes.
“As a part of the Year of Open Space, we have been identifying innovative ways to create more parks and public spaces in our City. By replacing the concrete and asphalt around City Hall with a green park, we are advancing a more environmentally sustainable and equitable use of this public space for all to enjoy,” added Department of Infrastructure Director Barkha Patel.
The exterior and interior City Hall improvements are part of the administration’s broader efforts to renovate and upgrade the 126-year-old historic building for an improved working environment and more efficient services for residents.
Recent improvements include repointing work strategically improving the historic exterior walls of the building to mitigate damage from stormwater, restoration of the historic tile throughout the building, basement renovations to transform unused space into dozens of offices and conference rooms, and electrical and fire suppression upgrades.
City Hall has been flooded multiple times in recent years, which is not surprising since it is located in a FEMA flood zone.
As a result, the administration plans on incorporating green infrastructure aspects throughout the renovations, including stormwater absorption, flood mitigation, and sustainable features.
Parking along Montgomery Street will be converted to City Hall employee parking during regular business hours, with residential parking permitted during off hours, overnight, and on weekends.
An ordinance to implement the parking modifications will be proposed early next year for the council’s consideration.