In October 2009, The Hoboken Family Alliance launched Project Play, an initiative to rebuild all of Hoboken’s ailing Public Parks, starting with one of the most urgent needs, Church Square Park. Over the next year and a half, Project Play raised $52,241!!!
As you may recall, Church Square Park concept priorities included:
- ADA accessibility – Church Square Park is currently not ADA accessible
- Security – fencing and lighting
- Aesthetics – we propose a natural color scheme
- Community building – adding benches and picnic tables appealing not only to families, but also to singles and seniors
- Environmental sustainability
In May 2010, the City held a public hearing where the public had an opportunity to give their input on conceptual design and priorities for improvement. In March 2011 the City Council passed a $1.6 million dollar bond for improvements to ailing parks throughout the city. Since this time the city has begun work on 2 parks, one of Jefferson between 1st and 2nd and one on Jackson Street. Mama Johnson’s Field is about to begin. Next up is Church Square Park!
In addition to the bond, the city was also able to secure additional funds to expand the project at Church Square Park. The plans now include the basketball courts and the water feature. As a result, the city has retained the services of Boswell Engineering for initial design and is in the process of looking for an urban parks designer who is experienced in large urban park renovations. Once a draft is completed the city will hold another public meeting to generate input from residents – as they have with several other large scale park projects (for example 1600 Park). The city expects to have preliminary drawings and a public meeting in January 2012. Phased construction on Church Square Park is expected to begin in Spring 2012. In the meantime, the city has recently installed new plants and shrubs as part of a beautification effort – more is on the way!
In May 2011, the City of Hoboken was presented with a ceremonial check at the first annual HFA Spring Gala. HFA Project Play will keep the committed Project Play funds until the final plan, approval, and total funding of the park improvements have been finalized. At that time, the funds will be released and given to a select line item in the park renovation budget that matches the Project Play goal.