Jersey City officials and organizations will come together to break ground on the $6 million Reservoir #3 renovations tomorrow afternoon.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“After nearly 30 years of discussions with no one taking necessary action, today we are committing the necessary resources to bring us to this critical turning point,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.
“We will restore this one-of-a-kind local treasure to its fullest potential for residents and visitors to enjoy while properly preserving its rich history and environmental assets.”
The city has committed $3 million in capital funds to match grant money allocated to the reservoir’s construction.
Additionally, the first allocation of the Jersey City Open Space Trust Fund has dedicated $1 million, while over $2 million in grants awarded to the City through the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund, New Jersey Historic Trust Grant, and Green Acres Grant will fund the preservation and modernization project.
“I would like to thank Vernon Richardson and all the residents for their input and dedication in seeing the reservoir is preserved,” added Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano.
“We are lucky to have this natural oasis in the heart of Jersey City, and I have no doubt my friend and colleague, the late Councilman Michael Yun, who helped bring us to this point, would agree that this is a proud moment as we are able to finally give the reservoir the upgrades it deserves.”
Plans to restore the reservoir and surrounding land include the stabilization and preservation of the original pump houses, which ceased operations 30 years ago.
Immediately following the site safety improvements, the city will shift focus to the restoration phase.
“Reservoir 3 is the crown jewel of the Jersey City Heights, and this groundbreaking is a first step and a necessary investment towards making Reservoir 3 a safe, accessible park open for all to enjoy,” noted Ward D Councilman Yousef Saleh.
“It is the culmination of efforts from Councilman Boggiano, Mayor Fulop, the late Councilman Michael Yun, the Reservoir Alliance, and the overall community that we are able to achieve and enjoy this historic moment together.”
Expanding the trail from 18 inches to 48 inches wide throughout the length of the trail will significantly expand public access, taking into account those who utilized motorized mobility devices and families with strollers.
While safety as a top priority throughout the renovation project, the city also identified lighting features that provide the safest yet least disruptive illumination to the surrounding neighborhood and wildlife.
The Jersey City Parks Coalition and Boy Scouts Troop 466 have also voiced support for the project and are expected to have representatives present for tomorrow’s 12 p.m. groundbreaking.
“ … This groundbreaking represents a strong starting point for both groups and promotes future opportunities for community engagement as well as JCPC’s mission to ensure this dialogue continues,” JCPC President Paula Mahayosnand stated.
The city is also charged with preserving portions of the reservoir’s retaining walls where invasive, nonnative vegetation is pushing stones out of the wall into the right of way, causing students and staff of nearby Public School No. 26 and St. Joseph’s School for the Blind to walk around into the roadway.
Additionally, while the Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance was not initially on board with the plan, they are now expressing an interest in working with the city.
” … We look forward to continuing to work with the City to ensure the community has a voice in the current plans to, at long last, open this urban oasis and national landmark on a regular, ongoing basis,” explained JCRPA Board President Sarah Burroughs.
The city has also affirmed its commitment to developing a planting plan and hired Earthbilt in January 2021, a Jersey City company owned by a Jersey City Heights resident, Tim Keating, to create a planting plan consistent with the project.