Mayor Fulop, Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson, the staff of the Mary McLeod Bethune Life Center, members of the Jackson Hill SID, and representatives from the Jersey City Parks Coalition cut the ribbon for the brand new Bethune Park, located along MLK Drive in Jersey City on August 18th. After years of uncertainty, and the project almost falling through, Bethune Park is now open to the public.
The park design was inspired by feedback from the local community with the Jackson Hill Special Improvement District (SID), and City Council members involved in the project. The legacy of Mary McLeod Bethune has been displayed in several areas of the park. The City plans to add a nine-foot-tall bronze monument honoring civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune upon the park’s completion in the upcoming months. The statue of the monumental figure will be placed at the park’s main entrance as a focal point of the new park, and also with the intention to “spark curiosity amongst viewers to engage further into her legacy.”
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Completing the park was a $3.5 million park project funded by the Community Development Block Grant and capital funding, according to the City. The park includes an amphitheater/concert stage, an open-air pavilion, a shaded seating area, gaming tables, a playground, and exercise equipment.
The park will be used for recreation, celebrations, farmers’ markets, and other community events. A new parking lot with electric vehicle charging stations was also built nearby to preserve the existing supply of parking.
“After years of planning, I’m proud that we finally found a way to transform this underutilized space into a usable park for Ward F families and the nearby Bethune Center,” said Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson via the press release. “I knew that for a new park to succeed, it would have to be strongly connected to the activities at the Bethune Center. Now, we have another outdoor space in Ward F where residents can come together to play, exercise, gather with friends, and watch local artists perform.”
“We’ve seen the need for outdoor recreation in urban areas grow exponentially, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and this newest park will serve as a valued extension of the Bethune Center to allow for more outdoor entertainment and children’s programming,” said Mayor Fulop via the press release. “After being stalled for decades, we were able to work with the community to get this park built, and it can now serve as an incredible asset and addition for the entire community.”