Community-Driven Park to replace Troubled Park Space with Upgraded Amenities and Features to Attract Community Engagement
JERSEY CITY – Mayor Steven M. Fulop announced today the $2.5 million investment to build the new Bethune Park to enhance accessibility for local residents and increase community engagement with special design features including a stage for live performances and community events, amphitheater seating, a retail area for Farmersâ€™ Markets and food trucks, passive seating areas, and a large playground for kids of all ages to enjoy.
â€œWeâ€™ve been working with community members to come up with a plan that is most beneficial for the surrounding Jackson Hill/Greenville neighborhood,â€ said Mayor Fulop. “This new park is directly in line with our efforts to revitalize the city’s south west side as parks play a key role in sustainable community development, especially in urban neighborhoods.”
After various ideas and drafts over a nearly 10 year period , the Fulop Administration suggested moving the existing Fulton Park – a mostly concrete pocket park in disrepair and tucked behind a large building – to a more suitable and accessible location one block north. The new park will be 20% larger and a significant upgrade with state-of-the-art amenities, located along a main roadway and with greater public safety.
The new park will be located on Martin Luther King Drive directly across from the Mary McLeod Bethune Center, an integral hub for city services and community activities, which can now be extended outdoors to the new park space. The existing Fulton Park site will become a public parking lot dedicated for park-goers and the Bethune Center only.
â€œThis has been 10 years in the making, so Iâ€™m really encouraged that this park will move forward to become a gem for the Jackson Hill/Greenville area and serve as a safe space for community engagement,â€ said Council President Joyce Watterman. â€œWith so many families in the surrounding area, and the Bethune Center across the street, I know the new location along MLK will be much better utilized.â€
â€œJackson Hill is excited to see more outdoor space for residents to enjoy, for family-friendly outdoor entertainment and gatherings,â€ said Michele Massey, Executive Director of the Jackson Hill Special Improvement District (SID). â€œOur goal is to see a farmersâ€™ market, to have more families utilizing the playground equipment, and to offer much more in partnership with the Bethune Center.â€
The resolution for the new Bethune Park passed the City Council on August 12, 2020, and construction is expected to start within the next two months.