What many casually call Colgate Park–the area of land along the waterfront directly behind the Colgate-Palmolive clock–has fallen into disrepair. Many local residents question why this prime waterfront property continues to sit derelict.
In short, it’s a political tug-of-war between the State of New Jersey and the City of Jersey City. A Colgate-Palmolive representative, as well as Mayor Fulop’s office, have confirmed that the land is currently owned by the State of New Jersey. Colgate-Palmolive simply leases the land on which the clock sits and tries to maintain the rest, time and resources permitting. Unfortunately, the underused area has collected trash and become a place where people do not feel obligated to clean up after their dogs.
The Mayor stated in communication with a local resident that his administration has been pressuring Governor Chris Christie to relinquish control, so the City of Jersey City can begin renovation and redevelopment. The City has the funds set aside and is confident they will gain control in 2018 when the State administration turns over.
Mayor Fulop and his administration have been clear about their commitment to and the importance of public spaces. In his latest State of the City Address regarding Downtown, Ward E, on March 7, 2017, he recapped their accomplishments which included spending nearly $6 million on park renovation and increasing city-owned parkland by 11%.
Also recently approved by a unanimous City Council vote is the creation of the Exchange Place Alliance Special Improvement District. Formed by the President of Mack-Cali, Ward E Councilwoman Candice Osborne, and other colleagues, the Alliance will be promoting revitalization all along the waterfront.
Mack-Cali is of course behind the massive, $75 million Harborside transformation, and a Mack-Cali representative stated in communication with a local resident that the area behind the Colgate-Palmolive clock would be a part of the Alliance’s agenda and revitalization initiative. Councilwoman Osborne did not return requests for comment.
Mayor Fulop is “committed to improving current parks, and fighting for expanded open spaces,” and said in his State of the City Address that the new Exchange Place Alliance SID will have the financial resources to truly reinvigorate the area. Current residents are still understandably concerned and frustrated. Let’s hope 2018 brings control and clean-up to the area.