…the green, green grass of home
By Tom Dwyer
With a population of over 600,000, open space in Hudson County is essential for the well-being of its residents. Open spaces like parks, and having waterfront access, help provide a ‘quality of life’ for a community; an oasis of calm in an urban environment.
Presently, the Hudson County park system is comprised of eight county parks: Stephen R. Gregg Park and Mercer Park in Bayonne, Columbus Park in Hoboken, Lincoln Park and Lincoln Park West in Jersey City, James Braddock Park in North Bergen, Washington Park in Union City and Northern Jersey City, West Hudson Park in Harrison and Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus. The largest and oldest park is Lincoln Park in Jersey City, created in 1905 with 277 acres. Most of these parks have been in use for decades providing open space for special events, sports, parties, and being one with nature.
Tom McCann, the Director of Parks for Hudson County, knows better than anyone the day-to-day operation in keeping the parks up and running. “If you just take Lincoln Park where on a good day we see two thousand people, and multiply that by 365 days, you’re looking at a million visitors to just that park alone. So that gives you an idea how popular our parks are.”
With one hundred and twenty-five employees, McCann runs a small army of trades people, his own forestry, mechanics, and over four-hundred pieces of equipment to keep the parks operating. Over the past few years, Hudson County has invested close to fifteen million dollars on upgrading the tennis facilities in the Hudson County park system. “Most people don’t know that we have the best public tennis system around in our parks. People come from all over to use our courts. And, we don’t charge,” McCann said. They have also invested in new ball fields and track facilities. “With over fifty organizations including Hudson County schools using the park facilities for their sports’ events, more open space in Hudson County is a priority,” McCann stated.