Jersey City’s Fulop cuts ribbon on 1.5-acre public park … built at zero cost to residents (SLIDESHOW)

Jersey City has experienced so much development since Mayor Steven Fulop took office. On Thursday he, along with members of city council, the community and the Manhattan Building Co. cut the ribbon on a brand new $2.5 million dollar public park filled with playgrounds, dog runs, greenery, artist works and an amphitheater for community events.

The newly constructed “Coles Park” was part of the negotiation terms for the city and part of the overall Jersey Avenue Park Redevelopment Area, which also mandated that the park be completed at zero taxpayer expense.

Located on Coles Street between 16th and 18th streets, the 1.5-acre plot of vacant land has transformed the area near the Holland Tunnel, where significant growth in residential and community development has been taking place since Fulop came to office.

Constructed by a local developer, Manhattan Building Co., the park includes four sections for passive use. The northwest section of the park contains an enclosed 5,000-square-foot playground for varying age groups, complemented by a separate swing set play area. The northeastern section contains two separate dog runs, one for smaller dogs and one for large dogs. The park’s southeast corner consists of open green space, featuring two mature Jersey Red Oak trees, wildflowers, sculpture artworks and decorative lighting.

“This park is a testament to our commitment to expand open recreational space in all neighborhoods while moving development beyond the waterfront in a public/private partnership that simultaneously ensures the surrounding community benefits most,” Fulop said. “We’re the first administration in decades to build brand new public schools and public parks at no cost to Jersey City residents. Coles Park offers more than outdoor recreational space; it includes flood mitigation, security features, over 70 tree plantings and an amphitheater to foster community with free special events.”

Phase II of the park project includes the completion of an oval, three-tiered amphitheater for local concerts and community events in the southwest section. The theater is designed with pervious pavers over a thick layer of clean stone to add storage volume and reduce storm runoff. Once the park is complete, Jersey City will assume park ownership for perpetuity.

Coles Park is carefully designed with environmentally friendly features that greatly benefit the neighborhood and helps prevent future flooding. The intersection and entire park have been elevated up to six feet to reach above flood elevation. The park is also designed with a bio basin to promote filtration back into the groundwater. Additionally, the entire park is crisscrossed with underdrains encapsulated in clean gravel to eliminate runoff.

“We are proud to formally announce the completion of Coles Park. This park is exactly what the residents of the neighborhood need and deserve,” Manhattan Building Co. President Sandy Weiss said. “We are grateful to have a forward-thinking administration that recognizes the need for preservation of open space, especially in an urban setting.”