JERSEY CITY, NJ - Mayor Steven M. Fulop is set to join with members of the Municipal Council, the Jersey City Parks Coalition, the Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance, and Boy Scouts Troop 466 to break ground on critical renovations to the historic Reservoir 3 on Saturday.
Originally built in the 1870s, the City has committed $6 million to preserve the historic pumphouse and fully fund renovations for complete public access to the 14-acre site, including by widening the reservoir’s perimeter trail from 18 to 48 inches to meet ADA compliance standards and incorporating new fencing and lighting to improve safety throughout the area.
In a statement, Fulop noted that the project is 30 years in the making, “with no one taking necessary action.” The largest park investment since the City established Berry Lane Park, the mayor added that the work 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.”
The City has committed $3 million in capital funds to match grant money allocated to the Reservoir 3 construction. The first allocation of the Jersey City Open Space Trust Fund has dedicated $1 million. In addition, over $2 million in grants awarded to the City through the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund, New Jersey Historic Trust Grant, and Green Acres Grant will fund the preservation and modernization project.
“I would like to thank Vernon Richardson and all the residents for their input and dedication in seeing the reservoir is preserved,” said Ward C Councilman Richard 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.”
With safety as a top priority throughout the renovation project, the City made great efforts to identify lighting features that provide the safest yet least disruptive illumination to the surrounding neighborhood and wildlife.
“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 Ward D Councilman Yousef 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.”
Representatives from the Jersey City Parks Coalition (JCPC) and the Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance also hailed the Saturday groundbreaking with Paula Mahayosnand, President of the JCPC saying that “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.”
“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,” Sarah Burroughs, Board President of the Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance, added. “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.”
The City is also charged with preserving portions of the Reservoir’s retaining walls where invasive, nonnative vegetation is pushing stones out of the wall into the right of way, causing students and staff of nearby PS 26 and St. Joseph's School for the Blind to walk around into the roadway. The City affirmed its commitment to developing a planting plan and hired Earthbilt in January 2021, a Jersey City company owned by a Jersey City Heights resident, Tim Keating, to create a planting plan consistent with the project.
“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,” said Richard Peters, Boy Scouts Troop 466 Leader.
Located in The Heights section of Jersey City, Reservoir 3 is a local treasure listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
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