Op-Ed: We must preserve Jersey City’s Speer Cemetery for generations to come


In an editorial, Journal Square Community Association President Tom Zuppa explains why Jersey City’s Speer Cemetery must be preserved for generations to come.

Photo courtesy of Tom Zuppa.

History judges a nation by how it cares for its dead.

The Historic Speer Cemetery, located at 145 Vroom St., was established as a burial ground in 1850, and serves as the final resting place of early citizens of Jersey City and Veterans killed in action at Gettysburg during the American Civil War, and Verdun during World War I. Long-abandoned, Speer Cemetery was restored by the City and re-dedicated on Memorial Day 1979.

Since then, Speer Cemetery has been maintained by local residents who volunteer their time to ensure the memory of those buried there is honored and that the property and gravestones remain well-maintained.

Speer, however, needs help once again.

In 2021, the Tax Assessor’s Office, incorrectly believing that the property had an owner who was delinquent in filing proper tax exemption documents, removed the exemption and sold a tax lien to private companies wishing to develop the land.

To the credit of the Mayor, City Law Department, and officials in the Tax Assessor’s Office, upon realization of the error, we have been working collaboratively over the past 18 months on a plan to refund the tax lien and take ownership of the abandoned cemetery pursuant to State statute, which passed the City Council on June 12.

Now, I encourage a public-private partnership between the City and Friends of Speer, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the Cemetery and that has been sponsoring family-friendly programming at Speer the last two years.

Speer Cemetery’s historic value to the City is immense and provides a place for quiet reflection and community building.

Nestled in a Journal Square neighborhood lacking in much needed green space, we must send a clear message to would-be developers that not only do we honor the memories of our veterans, but under no circumstances will there be development at Speer Cemetery.

How can you help? Contact your Councilperson and encourage them to adopt a future Resolution to partner with Friends of Speer and preserve Speer Cemetery for generations to come.

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/hcvcp/public_html/wp-content/themes/Hudson County View/includes/wp_booster/td_block.php on line 353