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Here’s What’s Going on with the $6 Million Reconstruction Project for Jersey City’s Reservoir 3

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Mayor Fulop will work with the Municipal Council, the Jersey City Parks Coalition, the Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance, and Boy Scouts Troop 466 to renovate Reservoir 3, a historic location located in Jersey City Heights.

{Photo credit: Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione}

The Reservoir was built in the 1870’s and $6 million dollars has gone into this project to maintain the historic pumphouse and to provide for the renovations. The renovation will lead Jersey City residents and visitors to be able to access this beautiful place. 

According to the State and National Registers of Historic Places, Reservoir 3 is a local treasure. On the Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance website, the consequences of not saving the Reservoir is that the 13 acres that the Reservoir has will be sold off due to a budget gap. A parking garage, high-rise, school or another unnecessary space will be put in place of the Reservoir. 

The Construction Process

Construction will begin on April 17th, 2021 to create safe public access, expanding the reservoir perimeter trail, and include new fencing and lighting for safety. Since Berry Lane Park, Reservoir 3 will be the biggest park investment.

Read More: $2 Millon Riverview-Fisk Park Renovation in Jersey City Complete

Mayor Fulop shared his thoughts on this historic construction. “After nearly 30 years of discussion with no one taking necessary action, today we are committing the necessary resources to bring us to this critical turning point. We will restore this one-of-a-kind local treasure to its fullest potential for residents and visitors to enjoy while properly preserving its rich history and environmental assets,” said Fulop. 

{Photo credit: Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione}

Jersey City is contributing $3 Million to the cost of the construction. The first $1 Million has been provided by the Jersey City Open Space Trust Fund and $2 Million in grants has been given to Jersey City by the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund, New Jersey Historic Trust Grant, and Green Acres Grant to provide funding for the preservation and modernization project.

Restoration of the reservoir and the land around it involved preserving the original pumphouses that haven’t operated for the past thirty years. After the site’s safety improvements have been made, the restoration phase will begin. 

Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione, the Director of Communications + Press Secretary for the City of Jersey City shared the following about the pumphouses.

“On background only – the Reservoir hasn’t functioned for several decades. The pumphouses are being preserved with great historical value to the City,” Wallace-Scalcione shared. 

These improvements fit in with Jersey City’s overall attempt to develop inclusive, open space for its residents, as well as residents that use motorized mobility devices and people using strollers. These devices cannot be used on the existing trails, but widening the trail from eighteen to 48 inches will increase access. 

The Project’s Team

Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano shared his thanks to those involved in the project and remembered Councilman Michael Yun who sadly passed away.

“I would like to thank Vernon Richardson and all the residents for their input and dedication in seeing the reservoir is preserved,” said Boggiano. “We are lucky to have this natural oasis in the heart of Jersey City, and I have no doubt my friend and colleague, the late Councilman Michael Yun, who helped bring us to this point, would agree that this is a proud moment as we are able to finally give the reservoir the upgrades it deserves.” 

Ward D Councilman Yousef Saleh also discussed his excitement of the renovations and thanked those who are helping with the process.

“Reservoir 3 is the crown jewel of the Jersey City Heights, and this groundbreaking is a first step and a necessary investment towards making Reservoir 3 a safe, accessible park open for all to enjoy,” said Saleh. “It is the culmination of efforts from Councilman Boggiano, Mayor Fulop, the late Councilman Michael Yun, the Reservoir Alliance, and the overall community that we are able to achieve and enjoy this historic moment together.”

Given that safety is a top priority for the project, Jersey City worked hard to figure out the type of lighting that would give the safest illumination to the project that would least disturb wildlife and the surrounding neighborhood.

Paula Mahayosnand, President of the Jersey City Parks Coalition, is glad that JCPC is a part of the project and enjoys working with the team that is taking on the project.

“The Jersey City Parks Coalition would like to recognize the collaboration between Mayor Fulop’s Administration and the Reservoir Preservation Alliance for their ability to come together and mutually agree on much-needed safety features and a design which integrates strong community input in preserving the Reservoir’s landscape and environment elements as part of its natural design. JCPC is pleased to be part of the process and celebrates the work and progress made as part of the City’s initial stage to open the reservoir to residents. This groundbreaking represents a strong starting point for both groups and promotes future opportunities for community engagement as well as JCPC’s mission to ensure this dialogue continues.” shared Mahayosnand.

{Photo credit: Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione}

Jersey City also is responsible for maintaining retaining walls of the reservoir where stones are being displaced by invasive vegetation into the right of way. This has resulted in the students and staff of PS 26 and St. Joseph’s School for the Blind to detour around the roadway. Accordingly, the City underscored that it will develop a planting plan. In January 2021, it hired Earthbilt, a Jersey City company owned by Tim Keating, a Jersey City Heights resident, to create an appropriate planting plan for the project. 

Sarah Burroughs, Board President of the Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance stressed the alliance’s dedication and strong support to preserve and create an inclusive accessible space for residents. 

See More: A Guide to Fun Outdoor Activities in New Jersey for Any Season

“For the past 15 years, the Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance has dedicated their time and resources to preserve the ecosystems and historic structures of Reservoir #3 and to establish the site as a public park and wildlife sanctuary,” said Burroughs. “The Alliance strongly supports efforts to create an inclusive and immersive natural space that is accessible to all while providing recreational opportunities for Jersey City residents like hiking, fishing, and kayaking. We look forward to continuing to work with the City to ensure the community has a voice in the current plans to, at long last, open this urban oasis and national landmark on a regular, ongoing basis.” 

Richard Peters, Boy Scouts Troop 466 Leader stated his Troops support of the renovation.

“Scouts BSA Troop 466 sees Jersey City Reservoir 3 as an invaluable neighborhood reservoir of educational and recreational opportunities, which melds perfectly with a primary goal of our troop, combining education and recreation,” shared Peters. 

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Written by:

Eva has been a Hoboken resident her whole life and will forever be in love with this amazing city. She is currently a junior at Saint Peter's University majoring in Communications and Media Culture and minoring in Journalism. In her free time, Eva loves hanging out with friends, binge-watching TV shows {One Tree Hill and Friends are her favorites}, and jamming out to some music!


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