Renovations Begin on Jersey City’s Reservoir #3

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jersey city reservoir number 3 autumn
Reservoir #3, Jersey City. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

One of the largest and most unique greenspaces in The Heights is getting some much-needed TLC, and additional restoration work will take place in the spring that should significantly revitalize a relic of the city’s past.

Jersey City’s Reservoir #3, next to Pershing Field between Reservoir and Jefferson Avenues, was first built all the way back in 1874 to provide drinking water to city residents. The 14-acre property did just that until the late 1980s when the city switched over to the Boonton Reservoir in Morris County, which put Reservoir #3 out of service.

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The rustic space is seasonally open to the public on a somewhat sporadic basis through the volunteer-based Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance. Formed in 2005, the group succeeded in getting the property placed on both the State and National Register of Historical Places in 2012. It’s also listed on New Jersey’s Recreation and Open Space Inventory (or ROSI), which makes the reservoir eligible for Green Acres funding.

Last week, work began on stabilizing the 20-foot high Egyptian Revival walls that surround the reservoir, and additional restoration is set to start when the snow melts next year. Mayor Fulop tweeted that the city is in the process of procuring historically significant lumber and slate roofing materials that will be used to build new roofs on two structures and restore a notable pumphouse at the reservoir in the spring.

The aforementioned roofs will be constructed on the reservoir’s gatehouses so that the city can begin the process of repairing them. Additionally, the Reservoir Alliance says that the city has also made Reservoir #3 their next priority for Green Acres funding, although there’s no word on when those funds could be awarded.

The renovations at Reservoir #3 come on the heels of Jersey City’s Environmental Commission entering into an agreement with the Open Space Institute and the Morris County Parks Commission to open the Boonton Reservoir to the public. The 1,300-acre site, which is Jersey City’s primary water source, is set to feature walking trails and other amenities.

In the meantime, Reservoir #3 in The Heights will be open through mid-November and sports some of the best urban foliage on this side of Hudson River. Stop by and bring your camera — you won’t be disappointed.

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