Watterman, Robinson, Walker praise proposed rec center as part of Ward F development

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Jersey City Council President Joyce Watterman, Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson, and Freeholder Jerry Walker (D-3) are praising a proposed STEM rec center as part of a development in Ward F known as the Morris Canal Park Manor.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The construction of the 22,000 square-foot, two-story building, tentatively called the Frederick Douglass STEM-Recreation Center, would be funded entirely by the Skyline Development Group – the project development.

Upon completion, the $5.5 million center and $900,000 land will be deeded to the City of Jersey City. The project is also slated to provide 40 free public parking spaces.

“I am very proud of this unprecedented community reinvestment package we negotiated for Ward F, and the entire city. The overall project will help revitalize Ward F at no cost to Jersey City taxpayers,” Robinson said in a statement.

“This community give-back is a game-changer for Ward F. The development supports minority business owners, creates additional green space, and most importantly, provides a place for learning and development for youth and families through the STEM and recreational center.”

Earlier this month, the councilman said he commissioned a survey from Sable, an online platform, that said 82 percent of the nearly 250 respondents felt Ward F was left behind in the revitalization of Jersey City and priority should be given to rec centers and affordable housing.

“Providing our kids and their families with a STEM Recreation Center is what good government is really about,” added Watterman. “When we invest in our children, we are actually creating a positive future for our communities.”

“This is a big win for our community,” stated Walker. “I look forward to local residents being able to enjoy the additional green space, increased property values and especially the STEM Recreation Center this development brings.”

The Frederick Douglass STEM-Recreation Center would be part of Morris Canal Park Manor, a potential 3.3 acre community adjacent to Berry Lane Park with 361 residential units.

On a community Zoom call in June, many residents panned the previous iteration of the project that called for 409 units and just five percent of them to be utilized for affordable housing.

Current plans also call for the construction of a Minority Business Enterprise Success Incubator and Micro Plaza. This would equate to the facility offering eight affordable commercial working spaces for minority-owned businesses, and two market-rate commercial spaces.

The entire mixed-used space is also being developed without an abatement request or funds from the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

“I am proud that a development I am initiating in Jersey City will positively impact local entrepreneurs and the youth for current and future generations to come. Giving back to the residents represents our commitment to the revitalization of Jersey City,” Skyline CEO Lou Mont said.

“The Frederick Douglass STEM-Recreation Center is an important and much-needed asset for the neighborhood and the whole of Jersey City.”

Another community Zoom call to allow the public to weigh in on the latest version of the project will be hosted on Wednesday, August 19th, between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

The meeting can be accessed here.