West New York plans park upgrades throughout 2022 and 2023
West New York is planning an ambitious program of park renovations throughout 2022 and 2023.
Special Projects Manager Jonathan Castaneda presented new and ongoing initiatives during the Capital Projects Mid-Term Capital Plan Review, including fleet upgrades during the meeting of the Council of Commissioners on January 12. Castaneda said the city is proud to renovate the parks, working to increase the total number of green spaces available in the parks for residents.
“We have repaired approximately 75% of our available open spaces, with renovations that have a direct impact not only on the lives of our residents, but especially on the lives of our young people.”
According to Castaneda, the city has replaced all of the backboards in all of the city’s basketball courts and is working to repair playground surfacing in some parks. While some of the council commissioners had considered those improvements under the administration of former mayor Dr. Felix Roque, they did not move forward until Rodriguez came to power, he said.
“In the past, these projects had been at the forefront of Mayor Rodriguez, commissioner [Margarita] Guzman and the Board of Commissioners,” Castaneda said. “But we have only been able to solve this problem thanks to the support of the governing body over the past two years.”
Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez said the COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of things on hold that are now getting back up and running.
“We’ve been very, very patient in wanting to do some of these projects that have been put on hold, obviously due to the pandemic,” Rodriguez said. “But now that things are moving forward and we’re starting a new calendar year, I’m happy to come and share our plans with the community.”
Miller Park, located on Jackson Street across from Miller Stadium, is slated for an overhaul. The commissioners presented an order that would bond $2 million for the second phase of the project.
“It’s by far the largest park in the city and one of the largest municipal parks in the county,” Castaneda said. “It’s in complete disrepair.”
The renovated park will include a special-needs playground, which Castaneda says is new for the city, passive green space, a dog park, mini-soccer field and safety upgrades. He estimates that the project will be completed by September this year.
Some residents and members of the public, like Hailey Benson of NB Earth Talks, have urged the city to create a community garden: “The compost bins in North Bergen have diverted over a ton of food waste since the beginning of August. She added that in addition to the Braddock Park compost bins, North Bergen is also considering a community garden: “This is a really great opportunity for Western New York.”
In response to requests for a community garden, Castaneda announced plans for Miller Park include a community garden. Although there are no plans for compost bins, the city directed Benson to discuss the matter further with environmental coordinator Rosemarie Suarez.
Washington Park and Weigand Park
According to Castaneda, the city is working on the renovation of Washington Park, located between 66th Street and 67th Street and Palisade Avenue and Hudson Avenue.
“We’ve been working very hard to get this to a building point and we’re approaching that stage very very soon,” he said.
The initial design includes general maintenance, improvements to the retaining wall, a conversion of the north play area to a half grass football pitch, and a conversion of the south play area and expansion of this playground where the water games are located.
“The water features have been gone for over 10 years and we are very happy to start this project,” Castaneda said.
Between the water park and the playground, there will be a climbing part. Castaneda said the project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2023. The introduced order would get $3,812,036 for renovations with $537,964 covered by Green Acres funds.
Castaneda added that Weigand Park will also get an upgrade. Weigand Park is a smaller park in western New York between 53rd and 54th Streets and Broadway and Park Avenue.
“Weigand Park is one of the smaller parks, but in my opinion one of the most beautiful due to the expense of the trees,” Castaneda said.
The project will include a new play area, trellis and fan attachment, and a few other improvements. Renovations are expected to be completed in August this year.
Pedestrian walkway and McEldowney Field
The city is also planning to make improvements to the pedestrian walkway connected to the Imperial Port. Planned improvements include better stair access, safety upgrades and a diversion of the natural stream formation that will prevent water accumulation. The current wooden stairs will be removed and replaced.
“The installation of new and modern stairs that will support pedestrian transit and stimulate economic, cultural and social activity between the waterfront and the highlands,” Castaneda said. He said the city hopes to have it done or nearly done by winter 2023.
Meanwhile, improvements to Patricia McEldowney Field between East Boulevard and Anthony Defino Way, including tennis courts and a skate park, are underway. Significant investments have been made in the park due to the topology of the area, according to Castaneda.
“This is a very important park for East Boulevard residents and really all residents of the city because of its scale and possible uses,” he said.
The skate park at the back of the north end of the park has been renovated and equipped with modern elements. When completed, the elements will include a new softball court with two new mini-soccer courts, one of which is for toddlers, new tennis courts, new handball courts and new soccer courts. pickleball. There will also be new lighting and safety components.
There are still a few pending items, including the fence of the park, but Castaneda estimates that it will be completed by April this year.
Centennial Field and Miller Stadium
Castaneda highlighted the city’s investment in youth recreation through the completed renovations to Centennial Field on Port Imperial Boulevard.
“It’s our field on the seafront,” Castaneda said. “He not only supports a recreational soccer team, but also our travel team. It also supports our high school football team during practices.
The pitch was recently upgraded to include a new drainage system, he said: “Those who have played on the pitch know that this is a pitch that has flooded many times. This really prohibited our young people and our soccer team from training on this field. The new pitch highlights our colors. This is a new grass pitch that includes two half soccer pitches, allowing our soccer teams to play more.
Castaneda also pointed to recently completed upgrades to Miller Stadium between 57th Street and 59th Street and Jackson Street and Madison Street. Improvements included a new turf baseball field, new locker rooms, new concession stands, bathroom upgrades, and other upgrades that “will see the stadium survive another hundred years”.
“The historic Miller Stadium on 57th Street is not only the home of the Memorial High School baseball team, but it also has historical significance because of the memories this location has,” Castaneda said. “Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig both played here, and Bruce Springsteen recorded his song ‘Glory Days’ in this same stadium. It is one of the last urban stadiums in New Jersey, perhaps one of the last urban stadiums in the country.
He underlined the importance of the stadium not only to the city but also to the community: “It was in disarray when this administration took over, but we worked to bring this multi-million dollar project and stadium back. Miller’s still important history. its heyday. No pun intended.”
An ordinance bond for some of the new park improvements will be subject to a public hearing and vote at the February meeting of the Western New York Board of Commissioners. The council will meet on February 9 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. For more information, go to westnewyorknj.org and click the link on the calendar webpage.
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