On Wednesday, Mayor Fulop, department heads, and local officials gathered to cut the ribbon on improvements to Gateway Park downtown. But according to two studies, when it comes to playgrounds and open space investment, more ribbon cuttings will be needed to lift the city from its low national rankings.
Standing in the newly renovated playground, Fulop said that investment in “youth spaces and youth activities” and open space had been “a priority” for his administration over a ten year period.
However, a study this year from the financial website WalletHub placed Jersey City among the five worst cities nationally for playgrounds per capita. Wallet Hub’s study was confirmed by The Trust for Public Land which ranked Jersey City 93 of 100 cities in 2022, with one playground for every 8,693 residents.
The investment in open space has been equally wanting according to TPL. In the same study, it found that Jersey City placed last in 2022 for spending on open space. The city’s three year average also placed it near the bottom.
Beyond the playground, Gateway Park now boasts a new multipurpose turf field, a resurfaced basketball court outfitted with new basketball hoop posts, and stormwater drainage systems.
Together, Fulop said improvements to the basketball court and the playground had cost close to a million dollars. The $500,000 turf field installation was funded through the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund and includes stormwater drainage infrastructure.
Barkha Patel, Director of the Department of Infrastructure said, “There were severe subsurface issues throughout the park, likely linked to Super Storm Sandy and subsequent weather events, which we remedied with the installation of new turf and drainage infrastructure so that we can make sure the stormwater doesn’t continue to wear and tear on the beloved park.”