It’s beautiful spring day at Liberty State Park in May 2009. Zabrina Stoffel and Regina Gannon watched with delight as their young children played safely together. They liked the state-of-the-art equipment and the areas that encouraged creative thinking. This picture struck them as significantly different from their daily experience in Church Square Park. An idea was formed… why not bring this type of park to Hoboken?
The two women approached the City of Hoboken with their concept. Both the outgoing and incoming Director of Environmental Services met them with open arms. A green light was given to solicit draft proposals. They learned about the latest in playground design which included environmentally-sustainable building materials. The City Council’s Parks and Recreation sub-committee was impressed with all their work and encouraged them to keep moving forward. Multiple meetings with concerned parents and the community showed them that safer parks for Hoboken kids was a top priority.
So in October 2009, The Hoboken Family Alliance launched Project Play. As active members of HFA, Zabrina and Regina were the obvious choice to lead this initiative to rebuild ailing sections of Hoboken’s Public Parks, starting with one of the most urgent needs: Church Square Park. There are three sections of Church Square Park that they want to address: (1) the center wooden structure designated for 5-12 year olds (2) the wooden structure which seems like the oldest part of the park, located along 4th Street designated for 2-5 year olds and (3) the swing area also located along 4th Street.
There is still a lot of work ahead. A concept needs to be presented to the City Council by the Parks and Recreation sub-committee. If there is agreement, it will then be presented at a public meeting where Hoboken residents may give their feedback. Upon approval, a Request for Proposal (RFP) will be sent to several play ground equipment providers to submit a formal proposal.
To fund the project, HFA’s Project Play will approach individuals, businesses, and foundations for donations as well as solicit grants. While fundraising in this economic environment is an enormous challenge, HFA is sure the community is ready.
Zabrina feels that “as members of an amazing community of families and friends, we saw this as an opportunity to mobilize and make a difference. We can do it because it will make Hoboken an even better place to live and raise a family.” HFA is thrilled to kick off the effort and has made a leadership donation of $10,000 toward the goal.
Here is where you, our members, get involved. Project Play needs marketing, further research, advertising, accounting, bake sales and most of all, your PARTICIPATION in the events. All this will help HFA’s Project Play! Please contact HobokenProjectPlay@nullgmail.com to volunteer.
Church Square Park (Before)
Church Square Park (After)
Final Concept plan for Church Square Park