The Jersey City Council will vote on whether or not to expand Fairmount Square Park by acquiring a scrap yard on Storms Avenue for $275,000 at tonight’s meeting.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Following the of the city’s 2019 pilot program to replace the underutilized space with a functional park, which has remained in place since, they conducted a traffic assessment and held several community meetings to incorporate residents’ input into the new vision for a safe outdoor recreational area.
With the acquisition of the additional property currently used to store cars for an auto body shop, the City will expand the park by an additional 3,200 square feet.
“We are creating this brand new park at the residents’ request, and today, we’re taking it a step further by transforming an adjacent scrap yard into green public space to foster community and promote physical and mental activity outdoors,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.
“After hosting numerous community meetings and surveys, this transformational park is the latest example of how we continue to look for ways to help neighborhoods in all six wards meet their fullest potential by listening to the residents’ needs and turning their input into actionable steps to improve the community and quality of life overall.”
Additionally, the project examines and implements various safety improvements to provide families better access to and from the new park.
The property owner is a lifelong Jersey City resident “who recognized the inherent value of transforming the lot into an extension of the new Fairmount Square Park for the community’s benefit,” the mayor’s office said of his willingness to sell the land.
The Fairmount Park renovation design was developed with community input to include playground equipment and permanent infrastructure with new tree plantings, seating, restriping pedestrian crosswalks, fencing, landscaping, a flagpole, and other elements being installed this year for residents to safely enjoy in the newly established public space.
Furthermore, the new Fairmount Park fully incorporates the surrounding street space – at the intersection of Fairmount and Summit Avenues – to create unified park space, including a sidewalk around the perimeter and a pedestrian traffic signal to allow families to cross safely at nearby intersections.
By eliminating the cut-through streets, traffic safety will improve by reducing the number of conflict points between pedestrians and motorists.
The city secured a grant for the park project by the Made to Move program, funded by Blue Zones and the Degree Foundation. Jersey City is one of five municipalities nationwide awarded the grant to fund projects that promote healthy living and active transportation and serve as a model for other communities.
“The Jersey City Parks Coalition is in full support of expanding our green spaces, specifically in areas that lack it. Fairmount Square Park continues to be a shining example of what can be done when we actively re-envision, expand, and create parks throughout Jersey City,” Jersey City Parks Coalition Trustee Patrick Ambrossi.
“The coalition looks forward to working with our city officials and the community to transform a former scrap yard into usable public green space for all to enjoy.”
Finally, monthly meetings will continue to be held on the third Tuesday of every month for the duration of the park’s construction process to solicit community input.
The council will vote on the second reading of the ordinance tonight at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 280 Grove St.