Jersey City residents will one day be able to recreate at a city reservoir in The Heights neighborhood, after an April 17 groundbreaking.
The city committed $6 million to preserve the historic pumphouse and fully fund renovations for complete public access to the 14-acre site, which dates back approximately 150 years.
The Jersey City Parks Coalition, the Reservoir Preservation Alliance, Boy Scouts Troop 466 and the city will work together to create safe public access, including widening the reservoir’s perimeter trail to meet ADA compliance standards and incorporating new fencing and lighting for improved safety.
Reservoir 3 is on both State and National Registers of Historic Places, and the project represents the city’s largest park investment since establishing Berry Lane Park in 2016.
“After nearly 30 years of discussions with no one taking necessary action, today we are committing the necessary resources to bring us to this critical turning point. We will restore this one-of-a-kind local treasure to its fullest potential for residents and visitors to enjoy while properly preserving its rich history and environmental assets,” said Mayor Steven Fulop.
The city has committed $3 million in capital funds to match grant money allocated to the Reservoir 3 construction, including $1 million donated by Jersey City Open Space Trust Fund and more than $2 million in grants awarded to the city through the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund, New Jersey Historic Trust Grant, and Green Acres Grant.
The original pumphouses, which ceased operations 30 years ago, will be stabilized and preserved, and then the focus will shift to restoration.
The trail will be widened from 18 inches to 48 inches, expanding public access regardless of mobility.
“I would like to thank Vernon Richardson and all the residents for their input and dedication in seeing the reservoir is preserved,” said Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano in a prepared statement. “We are lucky to have this natural oasis in the heart of Jersey City, and I have no doubt my friend and colleague, the late Councilman Michael Yun, who helped bring us to this point, would agree that this is a proud moment as we are able to finally give the reservoir the upgrades it deserves.”
For the project, the city chose lighting features that will be least disruptive to the surrounding neighborhood and wildlife, and hired Jersey City based Earthbilt to come up with a vegetation planting plan.
“For the past 15 years, the Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance has dedicated their time and resources to preserve the ecosystems and historic structures of Reservoir #3 and to establish the site as a public park and wildlife sanctuary,” said Sarah Burroughs, board president of the Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance in a prepared statement.
“The Alliance strongly supports efforts to create an inclusive and immersive natural space that is accessible to all while providing recreational opportunities for Jersey City residents like hiking, fishing, and kayaking,” Burroughs said.