BAYONNE, NJ - Bayonne took another stride towards creating a westside waterfront walk along Newark Bay with the Friday groundbreaking of the first of two new segments just south of Veterans Stadium.
The groundbreaking marks the expansion of the walkway south from the existing walkway and is expected to be done by late spring or early summer, when a second parcel south of this will connect it with the walkway in 16th Street Park.
Both parcels are being paid for through a combination of Green Acres state grants and from a fund generated by corporations cleaning up contamination.
“The idea is to create a walkway that connects Steven Gregg Park in the north with Dennis Collins Park in the south,” said Business Administrator Terrence Malloy.
This has been a challenge party because only more recent construction along the waterfront requires developers to set aside land for a walkway, Malloy said. “So, we have to wait into pieces become available.”
The ultimate goal, officials have said, is to have a walkway that not only runs along the western waterfront of Bayonne, but the whole peninsula, west, east and south.
But this groundbreaking and it companion piece in the spring will fill in an important segment between two city owned park areas, Veterans’ Stadium and the 16th Street Park for the first time.
Gov. Phil Murphy initially came to Bayonne to announce the Green Acres grant for the project in May 2018, an early attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to lead the state in promoting green initiatives.
When announcing the funding Murphy called the project“a game changer” for Bayonne’s waterfront access. “If you’re the Peninsula City, you’d better darned take advantage of your water and waterfront,” he said at the time.
In conjunction with this, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) awarded another $1 million from the State Preservation Trust funded by corporations responsible for contamination cleanup in New Jersey.
A huge swath of waterway in Bayonne, and extending up the Hackensack River into Jersey City, was contaminated over the last century and a half as a result of massive industrial uses. Among one of the massive cleanups and reconstruction projects was the development eco-friendly Rutkowski Park on the north end of the city.
According to the engineers who designed the project, the work will include stabilization of the waterfront, and will eventually provide a path that runs along Sunset Trailer Park to the 16th Street Park, and will include planting of shade trees, educational signage, benches, and other features for active and passive recreation.
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