On November 1, the City of Bayonne held a ceremony to rededicate a recently renovated portion of Dennis P. Collins Park, the largest municipal park in Bayonne.
Mayor Jimmy Davis reminded people at the ceremony that large sections of the park were environmentally damaged in the 20th century. He thanked the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for ensuring that the park was cleaned up and was “built right” and “built safe” as a part of a court-administered program. He expressed gratitude to Public Works Director Tom Cotter for his role in completing the park renovations. Mayor Davis said that former Mayor Dennis P. Collins, after whom the park is named, carried out a thorough program of park improvements. He promised to emulate Mayor Collins by redoing Bayonne’s municipal parks. He referred to Dennis P. Collins Park as “the crown jewel” of the municipal park system. Mayor Davis said that the most recent phase of Collins Park work “far exceeds all of my expectations.”
Ronald Riccio, the court-appointed administrator of the environmental work at Collins Park, lauded the collaboration of the City of Bayonne, the NJDEP, and PPG on the project. PPG, a provider of paints, coatings, and other products, was the court-appointed company given responsibility for the environmental work at the park. PPG was one of several companies that accepted responsibility for environmental clean-up of New Jersey sites, because it could not always be determined which company may have been involved in particular properties. Mr. Riccio reported that 20,000 tons of environmentally damaged soil were removed from the park, and that 39,000 tons of clean fill replaced that soil. He also cited the improved revetment, which is stonework that will help protect the park from the waters of the Kill Van Kull. Mr. Riccio said he had “treasured memories” of Uncle Milty’s, the amusement park that occupied much of the property that is now Collins Park.
Public Works Director Cotter thanked Mayor Davis, the City Council, the CME engineering firm, the municipal attorneys, the Picerno-Giordano construction workers and executives, and PPG for their work on the park renovation project. Referring to Mayor Collins, Director Cotter said to the Collins family, “His vision is still alive today.”
First Ward Council Member Neil Carroll III said that, when he was younger, the park was his “whole world.” After seeing the park renovations, he said he was “so filled with joy.” He described the improvements as “magic.” “It was like watching a miracle happen,” Council Member Carroll observed.
Concluding the speeches, Mayor Davis said, “We always have to preserve our park. We keep our past part of our future.”