Bayonne Boxing Legend Chuck Wepner’s statue awaits the unveiling on a rainy Friday morning.
The ceremony will take place at 12 noon at Dennis P. Collins Park between 1st Street and Zabriski street in Bayonne. The public is invited to attend
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.”
Mayor Jimmy Davis announced that the City of Bayonne will hold an opening ceremony for Phase II of Dennis P. Collins Park renovations on Tuesday, November 1, at 4:00 p.m. The ceremony will take place at 1st Street and Avenue C.
Phase II of the park renovations has included the construction of several new facilities. They include a hockey rink, a multi-purpose, elevated seating area, a playground for ages 2-5, a playground for ages 5-12, basketball courts, an exercise and training area, and a large gazebo.
The play area for the younger children has an amusement park theme. It includes a “Miltyville” ticket booth that is a tribute to Uncle Milty’s, the amusement park that stood on a portion of today’s park property in the 20th century. The kiddie play area has a roller coaster theme.
The multi-purpose, elevated seating area can be used an outdoor classroom or as an audience area for games or performances.
The gazebo measures fifty feet across. It will include tables for sitting. The gazebo is located between the hockey rink and the playground area.
The Gorman Field parking lot will be repaved. Another parking lot has been expanded. Gorman Field has received new sod, along with new fencing and a sprinkler system. The field is not yet ready for use, but will be opened in the spring. The new sod requires time to develop roots.
The park is named after Dennis P. Collins, who served four terms as Mayor of Bayonne from 1974 to 1990. Mr. Collins was a City Council Member before that from 1962 to 1974. Following his twenty-eight years in elected office, Mr. Collins worked as an Aide to Congressman (now Senator) Robert Menendez, Sr. and to former Mayor Joseph V. Doria, Jr.