A swath of underutilized land next to Downtown Jersey City’s government hub will be activated into new open space over the coming year in hopes of sparking new special events.
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and the newly created Department of Infrastructure have announced the impending creation of a perimeter park set to engulf all four sides of City Hall at 280 Grove Street. A Request for Proposal (RFP) looking to hire a consultant for the design and construction of the park will be going before the City Council at next week’s scheduled meeting on December 14.
“Any time of day, you will find people walking their dogs or socializing in front of City Hall, and this will be the latest addition to the dozens of new parks we’ve built, and park improvements completed in recent years,” said Mayor Fulop when announcing the move. “At the same time, we are taking proactive steps to restore the inside of the 126-year-old building to increase efficiency for resident services and ensure City Hall can continue serving as a contributing asset for the City of Jersey City.”
The exterior transformation will include significant improvements to the existing plaza in front of City Hall that will green the concrete and replace the concrete with tree plantings, flower gardens, and other stormwater-absorbing landscaping. Benches, picnic tables, and lighting will also be added throughout the grounds.
The new portion of the park will involve removing the employee parking lot behind City Hall and replacing it with more greenery. The work will double the size of the current park and significantly upgrade the urban planning nightmare that is the intersection of Montgomery Street and Marin Boulevard, where all four corners of the intersection are currently home to surface parking lots.
“As a part of the Year of Open Space, we have been identifying innovative ways to create more parks and public spaces in our city,” says Barkha Patel, Director of the Department of Infrastructure. “By replacing the concrete and asphalt around City Hall with a green park, we are advancing a more environmentally sustainable and equitable use of this public space for all to enjoy.”
Additional work on the interior of City Hall is also in the cards, as the design process is moving forward to build out offices on the unoccupied fourth-floor space. The improvements are part of an ongoing effort to renovate and upgrade the 126-year-old historic building, work that began to pick up amid the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020.
To facilitate the park’s buildout, street spaces along Montgomery Street will be converted to City Hall employee parking during regular business hours. An ordinance to implement the parking modifications will head to the City Council early next year, but a formal timeline for the construction of the park itself has not yet been announced.