A petition has been started urging Jersey City to clean and renovate William Gallagher Park in Ward A, which has endured some recent struggles since it was built about 20 years ago.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
Located at 259-265 Linden Ave., just off of John F. Kennedy Boulevard, the park is named after the brother of Jersey City Clerk Sean Gallagher.
“My brother was involved as a [Democratic] committee person and running little leagues in the park,” Gallagher said.
He explained that his brother also ran basketball, touch football, and whiffle ball leagues at the park to keep kids out of trouble before Jersey City had an established youth recreation program.
Due to complications from diabetes, William Gallagher died at just 44 years old.
“The area has not been the same since he’s been gone,” his brother told HCV.
Sean Gallagher also noted his mother, Rosemary Gallagher, was also a Democratic committeewoman and has a street just across from the park named after her.
“It’s pretty bad,” activist Ray Baylon regarding the park’s condition.
Baylon started a petition, under the Gallagher Park Coalition banner, urging the city to clean up and renovate the park. The petition began to pick up some steam after it was shared on the Hummus JC Instagram page, which he runs.
Baylon said a broken sprinkler constantly runs in the park, which has created a thick carpet of moss and mold.
“The swings are not safe … It’s definitely not a safe area for children,” he said, noting that there’s only one small slide that’s falling apart and covered in mold and that a lot of needles were initially laying on the ground of the park, claiming to pick up 50 in one day.
He is eager to make the park somewhere local children can learn with sensory-based nature, noting that schools could use it to teach science outside, also especially interested in having the park redesigned for special needs and autistic children – as well as making it wheel chair accessible.
Baylon also group wants to join the Jersey City Parks Coalition and secure funding from the city to refurbish Gallagher Park.
“It’s amazing what they’re looking to do,” Sean Gallagher said, who is of course enthused by the efforts, but won’t be involved since it’s a clear conflict of interest.
Recently, realtors from a Keller Williams office planted new trees and flowers after they saw the plants were dead and covered in garbage, which Baylon says shows the city isn’t carrying their weight.
“The city doesn’t really want to listen to what people are saying. It’s definitely challenging as a single entity to get something done … A lot of community members in the area are getting involved in taking care of it.”
While noting the nature of the pandemic might have slowed efforts, Sean Gallagher hopes the group is persistent since he knows his brother is patiently waiting to see what happens next from the heavens above.
“He’s going to be so happy it’s going to rain from the heavens.”