Jersey City officials, local residents, and community groups came together this morning to cut the ribbon on Ward F’s Gateway Park after receiving $900,000 upgrades such as a new playground, turf field, and basketball court.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
“In addition to the much-needed equipment improvements, we restructured the plaza to accommodate more public events and build stronger communities by bringing people together. As has become standard practice in Jersey City, the entire park project was workshopped with local community groups to best meet the needs of the residents who will actually use it,” Mayor Steven Fulop said after the event.
“Even before COVID brought the need for parks to the forefront, we have always prioritized accessible outdoor community space, and Gateway Park is one of the many park improvement projects we have completed in recent years utilizing grants to provide safe spaces for residents to connect and actively enjoy the outdoors.”
Jersey City Infrastructure Director Barkha Patel noted that the park suffered damage at the foundation during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, thus the city decided to include resiliency upgrades as well.
“We started this right before the pandemic. The improvements have been happening slowly over the last few years. We’re really happy to be here today to open up the facility,” Patel declared.
“Doing these open spaces is never easy. We go back and forth. It’s a really community effort,” Patrick Ambrossi, a Jersey City Parks Coalition trustee, explained.
He noted the city, neighborhood groups, and his parks coalition participated in the effort together. Jersey City Recreation Director Lucinda McLaughlin also said that this is a very exciting time.
“We’re making improvements all across the city in every ward,” she added.
Friends of Gateway President Alika Muhammad, who has sought in trying to have the park named after late Jersey City Police Lt. Chris Robateau, was credited by Fulop as being an “outspoken advocate” in the neighborhood.
“This is a long time coming. We here in this area have been pushing to get a lot of improvements done for this park. The administration, the mayor, and the city have been along with us the entire way,” she said.
“We always felt that reviving the park for the benefit of all neighborhood children and the community would assist in improving the community’s mental and physical health.
She also said that Robateau worked hard to build the bridge between the community and the police and that she would continue to push for a formal renaming in the future.
Fulop also thanked Board of Education President Natalia Ioffe for her efforts as a private citizen to obtain improvements in the park.
Later, Patel explained that the improvements cost about $900,000, of which the city secured a Hudson County Open Space grant for $500,000.
The additional $400,000 for the playground came from the capital funding as part of the municipal budget.