Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop joined city council members and the Manhattan Building Company to open the brand new $2.5 million Coles Street Park.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
“Seven years ago, there was nothing here. We couldn’t get any investors in this part of the area. Today you look around you see big buildings. And people forget what it looked like a mere decade ago. This place between Hoboken and Jersey City was very much no man’s land,” Fulop said at the ribbon cutting this morning.
“This park is a testament to our commitment to expand open recreational space in all neighborhoods while moving development beyond the waterfront in a public/private partnership that simultaneously ensures the surrounding community benefits most.”
The new 1.5 acre Coles Park, between 16th and 18th Streets, has transformed vacant land in the shadow of the Holland Tunnel.
The Manhattan Building Company paid for the park’s construction as part of their redevelopment of nearby buildings as part of their Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA).
“This park will improve the life of my life and my family’s life,” said Vice President of Real Estate Development for Manhattan Building Company John Palumbo, who noted he lived nearby.
“The original property that you’re standing on consisted of warehouses,” MBC Chief Engineer and Planner Jeffrey Reeves noted.
He explained that the warehouse material was used to build the park, including elevating the street. 17th Street was shortened to make room for the park.
“17th Street and Coles Street here used to flood every time you had a normal rain by several feet. This project remediated all of that. Very little water leaves the site,” Reeves said.
It was built with the environment in mind to let water not go into the sewer system to lessen the burden in a serious storm like Hurricane Sandy or Ida.
Daniel Gans, of Hoboken Brownstone, noted the project has been in development since 2005 when Fulop first took office as a Councilman for Ward E.
“We would like to replicate our vision of creating So Ho West and Coles Park in other desolated aged industrial areas of Jersey City just as this area was,” Manhattan Building Company President Sandy Weiss said.
Fulop noted Weiss was behind the redevelopment of the Paulus Hook neighborhood.
Coles Park was designed with environmentally friendly features to prevent future flooding. The intersection and entire park have been elevated up to six feet to reach above flood elevation. The park is also designed with a bio basin to promote filtration back into the groundwater.
Additionally, the entire park is crisscrossed with under drains encapsulated in clean gravel to eliminate runoff.
Coles Park includes four sections: the northwest section of the park contains a 5,000 square foot playground and a separate swing set play area. The northeastern section contains two separate dog parks, for smaller dogs and large dogs.
The park’s southeast corner consists of open green space featuring two mature Jersey Red Oak Trees, wildflowers, a sculpture, and decorative lighting.
Phase II of the park project will include the completion of a three-tiered amphitheater for local and community events in the southwest section. The theater was designed in part to reduce storm runoff.
The amphitheater will have three tiers and a 700 square feet stage and host community events and concerts. It was supposed to be completed sooner, but was delayed due to COVID, it should be completed by the end of the year.
Widespread city park improvements are underway or completed utilizing $3 million in Open Space Trust funding based on community input.