JERSEY CITY, NJ - To the rumble of wheels in motion, Jersey City opened a new skate park in Berry Lane Park Thursday.
In unveiling the space, Mayor Steven Fulop, joined by various elected officials, the Jersey City Redevelopment Authority, and local skateboarding pros, said the new facility will make up for the loss of a number of make-shift skate parks which local skateboard enthusiasts set up over the years but were closed or relocated. The ramps, jumps, curves, and concrete, located behind the iconic industrial silos at Berry Lane Park will be a permanent facility for skaters.
At nearly 12,000 square feet, the skate park is the largest in Jersey City, and the first poured-in-place concrete skate park in Hudson County, completing the transformation of Berry Lane Park from the once toxic site into the premier destination it is today for the community to enjoy.
Although the city had the support of a funding from the foundation of skateboarding icon Tony Hawk, funding for construction of the park came up short, Fulop said, a gap that was filled in by Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise and the Hudson County Freeholder Board in the form of a $500,000 grant from the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund.
Constructed by TSIVIKOS Enterprises Inc., New Jersey's newest, and among the largest, skateparks includes: a lay back bank, hipped quarter pipes, a roller, A-Frame ledge combo, split-level A-Frame with gap, three-stair rail, bump to ledge, kicker gap, flat rail over gap, clam shell, quarter pipe extension, pump bump, and will feature a backyard bowl at a 6-foot maximum depth with a 3,600 square foot circumference.
The Skatepark Project (Formerly the Tony Hawk Foundation) uses a selective process to choose locations nationwide to invest in building high quality, public skate parks for youth in low-income communities. What set Jersey City apart from other grant applicants, foundation officials said, was the Fulop Administration’s commitment to reinvigorating the area and identifying the importance of expanding recreation in the neighborhood.
Once dominated by old rail lines, junkyards and auto repair shops, the land in the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood that has been transformed into Berry Lane Park now boasts an array of recreational features including a playground, Splash Park, exercise stations, basketball courts, tennis courts, a baseball field, a soccer field, and public space. The skate park is the sixth and final phase of the park’s overall transformation project.
"From a demolished local DIY skate park in 2007 to an effective partnership with the skaters, municipality and the JCRA, it's great to see the Berry Lane Skate Park finally open. Support from the community has brought this space from untenable soil to a rich experience for action sports enthusiasts of all ages and schedules," Alec Beck, Programs Manager for The Skatepark Project.
Councilman Jermaine Robinson, who represents Ward F where the park is located, said this is the kind of activity desperately needed in this part of the city. “This is a step in the right direction,” he said, noting that the final phase of the Berry Lane Park improvements also includes a 2,000-square-foot pavilion as well as outdoor patio space, concession stand, public bathrooms, and locker rooms. The pavilion will provide additional design enhancements like walkways, curb extensions, benches, and bike racks.
“This will be a huge investment in this part of the city,” Robinson said, pointing to the remains of a rusted warehouse near the skate park. “People will be here all the time to be involved in the community.”
“Berry Lane Park has become a state of the art recreational facility, so it is an exciting time to finalize this latest phase of construction and completing the transformation of a former industrial site starting with chromium remediation and ending with this state-of-the-art recreational facility that serves as a lifeline for our youth and local community to exercise and socialize,” said Diana Jeffrey, Executive Director of the JCRA.
“This is a good day for Jersey City,” said Council President Joyce Watterman. “It takes a village to make something like this happen.”
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