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Updates on the Church Square Park Redesign in Hoboken

by Rosaria LoPresti
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The City of Hoboken is seeking final approval for the Church Square Park Vision Plan, aiming to shape its future and guide potential upgrades. Following months of community input, the final vote was determined last night. The City has presented a final proposal to rearrange and upgrade the park without major changes to the popular recreational square. The overarching goal is to enhance the functionality of the park while maintaining its historic character. Read more for details on last night’s meeting + the vision plan.

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Updates as of December 21st

During the December 20th meeting, project planners introduced the Church Square Park Vision Plan to the Hoboken City Council for public input. Based on the feedback, the project team is exploring additional ways to help minimize noise from the dog run. The City decided to retain all courts as basketball courts without converting them into multi-use areas. Additionally, the dolphins from the splash pad will be transformed into public art, and the City intends to plant 27 new trees in the park as part of the upcoming phased upgrades. An updated version of the plan will be presented to the council for adoption in the new year.

Key Elements in the Vision Plan

The Church Square Park Vision Plan encompasses a range of elements aimed at enhancing the park’s functionality, aesthetic appeal, and ecological sustainability, according to the City’s website. Marilyn Baer, the communications manager for the City of Hoboken, discussed the overarching goal of the project. “The Church Square Park Vision Plan will be a guiding document for the City when it seeks to make much-needed phased upgrades to the park in the future while simultaneously maintaining the historic nature of the park,” she said.

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 Some key aspects of the plan include:

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  • The park’s central oval will be dedicated to passive recreation by moving the playground areas and adding a new section to the park, per NJ.com.
    • Playground areas will be relocated to sections bordering the street, per the City’s website.
    • A new section will be built featuring turf and a picnic grove. Currently, the synthetic turf field is used by residents of all ages for a variety of activities including catch, soccer, fitness, and more. The field will remain open for residents’ use, per Marilyn Baer.
  • The dog park will remain in its current location and will be bounded on the west side by additional vegetation for sound buffering during dog runs, per Marilyn Baer.
  • Marilyn also noted that the basketball courts will remain. Following additional community feedback, the plan has been amended so the courts will no longer be multi-use. The name of the courts will remain the same.
  • The renovation will unfold in seven phases, with the initial phase estimated at $850,000, per NJ.com.
  • Funding for the project’s first phase is actively pursued through a state grant for accessible playgrounds, per NJ.com.
  • New landscaping will surround the park, including the replacement of current restrooms, with a new building on the outer edge, per the City’s website.
  • Tiered seating facing the gazebo, and renovations to the gazebo and courts are a part of the project, per NJ.com.
  • The contract funding is secured through a bond issued last year for park design plans, per NJ.com.

More information surrounding the vision plan as well as future updates can be found on the City’s website here.

 

 

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Past Meetings

The Church Square Park vision plan is seeking community engagement to foster ideas, hopes, and concerns. The City of Hoboken has facilitated disengagement through a series of public meetings, and surveys that began in March and concluded last Thursday, December 14th ahead of the December 20th vote.

Historical Roots

Church Square Park was originally constructed in 1875 and has evolved and adapted over time as the needs of the City and community have changed. Church Square Park is the social and ecological center of its neighborhood, bounded by Garden Street, Fourth Street, Park Avenue, and Fifth Street.

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The City noted on its vision plan page for the park that “One of the most important elements of this park is the historic tree canopy and the ecological value of the green spaces located throughout.”

In 2020, the City completed an assessment of mature trees and launched an annual arboriculture program. In 2022, a landscape rehabilitation pilot program was completed for the “central spine” within the Park.

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