Officials broke ground today in a ceremony that marks the beginning of construction for the Northwest Resiliency Park.
Set to become Hoboken’s largest park at 5 acres, it will occupy land once used as an industrial site by a company under BASF ownership. The park is slated to include open space amenities such as a multi-purpose athletic field, ice skating rink, open lawn, pavilion, playground equipment—as well as above- and below-ground infrastructure to withhold up to 2 million gallons of rainwater to mitigate flooding.
Big milestone today – we broke ground on our 5 acre NW Resiliency Park! It will become NJ’s largest resiliency park & a national model combining open space needs & ability to store up to 2M gallons of rain & reduce flooding. TY @dawnzimmernj & all who made today possible pic.twitter.com/5xrJ2ZDaOl
— Ravinder S. Bhalla (@RaviBhalla) October 4, 2019
The site on which Hoboken’s new park will be located had maintained industrial operations until 2005. Upon testing the property, results indicated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) “between not detected and 420 parts per million (ppm),” rendering it unsafe for residential development.
BASF proposed remediating the soil to 25 ppm, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) criteria for “low occupancy” use. By their definition, low occupancy is an area where individuals spend less than an average of 6.7 hours per week. Both the USEPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) approved BASF’s remediation plan, which was completed in November of 2016. The entire lot was then encapsulated with 6‐inch asphalt cap.
NJDEP issued a Response Action Outcome (RAO) (i.e. No Further Action Letter) on December 1, 2016, certifying that the remediation was completed in compliance with the Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (N.J.A.C. 7:26C), and is protective of public health, safety and the environment. Per NJDEP, the City’s plan to use the area as a park is, “acceptable, in full compliance with the Remedial Action and RAO issued for the property, and poses no human health risk to the recreational users of the park.” Officials have maintained in the past that the future park will include a cap—which may be asphalt or another measure—which will similarly prevent human contact with the underlying fill and ensure environmental safety (See graphic below).
Hoboken purchased the property from BASF for $30 million, just weeks after the NJDEP issued their report on the land.
“Hoboken’s Northwest Resiliency Park will become a national model for parks across the country, as it combines critical open space needs along with major infrastructure to reduce flooding,” said Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla. When constructed, the park will provide both active uses for residents of all ages, as well as passive space for relaxation and enjoyment, reflecting the needs of our community. I thank the many partners at all levels of government who have made this milestone possible, and look forward to celebrating with residents when construction is complete!”
The Northwest Park’s final design was ultimately based on feedback from the community. Features include:
- athletic field
- open lawn space
- park pavilion and shade structure
- ice skating rink
- spray water feature
- playground equipment for children of all ages
- lowland gardens
Furthermore, above-ground green infrastructure and an underground detention system will reportedly hold up to 2 million gallons of rainwater to help reduce flooding that currently plagues Northwest Hoboken.
— hMAG (@hMAG) April 16, 2018
“The Northwest Resiliency Park is an enormous achievement that will improve the quality of life for Hoboken residents by adding much needed park space, while also providing a critical contribution to Hoboken’s Rebuild By Design strategy to protect our City from flooding,” said former Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Thank you to everyone in my Administration who worked so hard with me to make this possible, and thank you to Mayor Bhalla and his administration for moving this critical project toward the finish line.”