Friday, July 15, 2011

Kurt Gardiner for Freeholder - Washington Park Overview

Hudson County has 9 parks that it services including Columbus Park in Hoboken. Last night I had the opportunity to get a tour of Washington Park up in Jersey City Heights and overall I was impressed with the number of recent improvements that were made to the park. The WPA is an advocacy group and I met with two of their members to just get an idea of some of the accomplishments and concerns the organization has for additional improvements to that park. Since I am running in the 5th District Freeholder in November which includes part of Jersey City Heights I wanted to get up speed on the issues that are facing these residents. I hope to reach out to as many groups as possible to get a better understanding of the needs of the residents and how they can be incorporated into proper park planning. At the very least any substantial changes to any of the Hudson County's parks should involve the following at a minimum to ensure the end product meets the constituents true needs:

  • Need engineering study
  • Need traffic study
  • Need public process
  • Need community input
  • Need overall visioning plan for park as whole
  • Need to consider sustainable plantings wherever possible
  • Old trees should be preserved wherever possible

Overall, Washington Park comprises 22 acres and has the following, baseball fields, basketball courts, volley ball courts, tennis courts, picnic area, chess area, gazebo, gardening, jungle gyms, and so much more. As a Hoboken resident I left with a sense of park envy. We in Hoboken only have one small county park in Hoboken and we pay over $50 million a year to the County. What does Hoboken get from the County again? What has Anthony Romano done for Hoboken's one small park? But I digress.

Washington Park has a major issue with respect to a proposed plan to create a multi-sport field. The problem is that a very preliminary sketch had them removing beautiful 100 year old trees for the park. My initial response is to take a step back and do the proper studies and planning first and incorporate the stakeholders like average citizens, the WPA and anyone else concerned into the process to make the best possible plan. There are some minor issues in that park as well, such as no parking enforcement, broken electric and sod issues just to name a few but the multi-sport field plan must be done in a proper way to get the best results.

Expect more updates on County issues as my grass roots campaign for Freeholder begins. If you have any questions contact me at