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Re: Hamilton Park Renovation - Update
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I can't wait to hear the roar of that majestic fountain!!

Posted on: 2009/10/30 15:27
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bem141 wrote:
Is the park still supposed to open late November? I ask this because I am wondering about grass - don't they have to plant now? Otherwise it will be a muddy pit until May and even then no one will be allowed on it until it takes hold.


From Steve Fulop's quarterly update letter:

Hamilton Park Renovation

Recently, Jersey City chief architect Glenn Wrigley, representatives from an independent environmental consulting firm, and I met with a large group of parents and members of the Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association. We met to discuss the historic fill within Hamilton Park and remediation options based on test results. The City has submitted to the NJDEP a proposed capping plan for a portion of the park that will ensure our park is safe and clean. This plan has been approved and Green Construction is now moving forward with the renovation. The goal for completion of the park for public use is the end of the year (weather permitting). This includes the playground, dog runs, and other amenities. However, the fall planting cycle was missed; therefore, a lot of the landscaping will be finished up in the spring of 2010.

Posted on: 2009/10/30 14:42
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Vigilante wrote:
I'm sorry but that fountain looks really dinky. I have seen bigger fountains on people's lawns in Bloomfield. It has "made in China" written all over it. If it is indicative of the other work in the park we are screwed.


It looks like a scale mistake was made like the 18 inch Stonehenge in Spinal Tap. Maybe it was a inch/metric thing: "We ordered a 15 foot fountain and got a 1.5 meter one!"

I can tell you this, I was on the HPNA park planning committee and no one envisioned such a pathetic, diminutive fountain, we planned for one similar to Van Vorst.

Posted on: 2009/10/19 22:45
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bem141 wrote:
Is the park still supposed to open late November? I ask this because I am wondering about grass - don't they have to plant now? Otherwise it will be a muddy pit until May and even then no one will be allowed on it until it takes hold.


Doubtful now. They still have not decided what to do about the contamination around the basketball court. They hope to just cap it but I don't know if the DEP has approved any plans yet. It's looking more like some time in the new year for a reopening.

Posted on: 2009/10/18 16:23
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Is the park still supposed to open late November? I ask this because I am wondering about grass - don't they have to plant now? Otherwise it will be a muddy pit until May and even then no one will be allowed on it until it takes hold.

Posted on: 2009/10/18 16:08
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Vigilante wrote: I'm sorry but that fountain looks really dinky. I have seen bigger fountains on people's lawns in Bloomfield. It has "made in China" written all over it. If it is indicative of the other work in the park we are screwed.
This may explain it.

Posted on: 2009/10/18 15:57
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Vigilante wrote:
I'm sorry but that fountain looks really dinky. I have seen bigger fountains on people's lawns in Bloomfield. It has "made in China" written all over it. If it is indicative of the other work in the park we are screwed.


And now they've repaved the tennis court with the same old crappy black-top? And it has seams in it and is already pitted. I was hoping they would build this park to last but it appears not to be the case. I hope I'm wrong and they correct these imperfections before it reopens. Right now, aesthetically, it looks cheap.

Posted on: 2009/10/18 15:44
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The NJDEP required the City install those water retention basins. An integral component of the new park plan was improved sewage to prevent the water pooling you mention. Apparently, the retention basins ensure the streets surrounding the park don't get flooded as the park now has improved sewage. The City architect didn't think it was necessary, but the state required it.

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I was therefore surprised at the huge 8 foot trenches and 4 foot diameter pipes that were laid into the ground. I never saw this work on any of the plans presented to the public. I also never saw the inclusion of at least one pumping station in any of the publicly presented plans or learned the real reason for these pipes. Too late now.

Anything is nicer than macadam. I simply mentioned the potential hazard. Water pools on the glazed concrete long after the water has evaporated everywhere else. The same will be true of ice patches.

Posted on: 2009/10/18 14:14
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I'm sorry but that fountain looks really dinky. I have seen bigger fountains on people's lawns in Bloomfield. It has "made in China" written all over it. If it is indicative of the other work in the park we are screwed.

Posted on: 2009/10/15 16:13
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Well, I for one, did participate in the process to renovate the park. I answered the surveys, voted on the choice of designs, and attended some of the major meetings. While I did feel that many of my concerns were not addressed, I went along with the majority decisions. When you live in a city you have to compromise. Besides which, there really wasn?t much of a choice and as long as the park remained essentially the same, I had no problems with any of the plans. I do recall with amusement some neighbors asking what the difference was between two out of the three final designs that were presented at one of the major meetings. (One had a putting hole, the other didn?t.)

I was therefore surprised at the huge 8 foot trenches and 4 foot diameter pipes that were laid into the ground. I never saw this work on any of the plans presented to the public. I also never saw the inclusion of at least one pumping station in any of the publicly presented plans or learned the real reason for these pipes. Too late now.

I agree that some pruning was necessary. But didn?t we have a company severely prune the trees little more than a year ago? At that time I was told the pruning was needed because the lower limbs blocked police views of the interior of the park. My friend who is a forester shook his head in disbelief at what was done to our trees. Country trees are pruned to strengthen the tree not to remove view or powerline obstructions His observations questioned the impact of the trenches on the root systems of some of the ?old timers.? He also questioned the need to both disturb old root systems and severely prune limbs in the same time period. The pruning could have been done in early spring. I hope the trees survive.

Anything is nicer than macadam. I simply mentioned the potential hazard. Water pools on the glazed concrete long after the water has evaporated everywhere else. The same will be true of ice patches.

Point of issue: without the some sort of center section around the gazebo, after the first time a group has an event in the gazebo, all the grass near the gazebo will be trampled into dirt patches. That?s why that section was put there in the 70s. One of the issues I raised long, long ago.

Regardless, it is what it is and the park will survive in spite of us. Of that, I have no doubt. Again, my fingers are crossed and my hopes are high.

And just for for entertainment purposes, there will be a whole host of maintenance issues to discuss long after the renovation work is completed to keep JC List buzzing.

Posted on: 2009/9/29 21:43
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Different perspectives are always welcome. Which is exactly why the process to renovate the park was open to all people in JC to express their opinions. In terms of the extreme pruning, some of it was actually quite necessary. A few neighbors who are land scape architects have advised that many of the trees are silver maples and have not been properly maintained and consequently pose a danger in the park. Of course this was confirmed by the city architect. Also, the new design eliminates a ring of black concrete in favor of more green. Additionally, the composition of the new pathways leading to the gazebo are much more attractive than the old crumbly black tarmac that was there before.

Posted on: 2009/9/29 0:05
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We see things quite differently SamS, but then, to each his own. Where you see serenity, I see endless yards of sterile concrete. For me, the bunkers created an ?intimate? space around the gazebo, perfect for viewing the little productions of the Jersey City version of ?Shakespeare in the Park.? I also enjoyed the benches that surrounded the gazebo and the lovely gardening efforts by the former Friends of Hamilton Park. I liked sitting in that cozy little space. While some sections fell apart because of lack of maintenance, other sections became truly lovely, especially the section near the Jersey Avenue/8th Street entrance. That section proved to be a really good effort at beautification and some of the shrub roses really thrived.

I am totally disheartened by the excessive amount of pruning that recently took place, especially the sheer butchery of the exquisitely beautiful cherry trees near the Pavonia Avenue and the West Hamilton Place entrances. I loved watching children climbing the low branches and fathers shaking the low lying branches to create a ?petal shower? on their little girls. Now these delights are out of reach and the trees have awkward shapes. I will miss the glorious tree canopy, especially the light filtering through the leaves when the summer sun hit the trees at around 4:00 p.m.

Then there is the positively bare side facing McWilliams Place in the area of the tennis courts and dog runs. I sincerely hope they will plant some new trees to replace the one cut down and even add more to humanize the space around the dog runs and tennis courts. Dogs especially need the shade given their inability to sweat through their coats. What dog owner would want to subject their dogs to the intensity of the summer sun in those dog runs.

One note of caution, although the concrete walkways look nice with their glaze in place, I see rainwater puddling and sheeting on that glazed concrete. I can only imagine how dangerous those walkways will become when they freeze over.

So yes, I agree they are making truly remarkable progress. And, I am hoping all this work gives the community a genuinely beautiful park. Right now, I?m just keeping my fingers crossed and my hopes really high.

Posted on: 2009/9/28 23:20
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Passing the park today I was impressed by two things in particular.

The first, how much better the park looks without those stupid bunkers that existed. There is now a clean open look to the park, adding to the serenity of the park

The second, how nicely the work has progressed and at such a good pace, especially considering how much rain we had this year in conjunction with the discovery of the lead etc.

Posted on: 2009/9/28 19:58
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This really shouldn't be an issue of what is worse - the Bball courts or dogs off leash. They are 2 separate issues.

We should look at the renovation as an opportunity to discuss ways to improve past problems.

Couple of ideas - calling the authorities was mentioned. Ask neighborhood watch and neighbors to call authorities whenever someone sees a violation.

Enos Park baseball fields have locks on them. Only leagues can use them. Who is in charge of that? Can we get someone to open and lock the courts each day? maybe even a warning that if they do not respect the neighbors, the court will be locked excepted for leagues only.

Just throwing some ideas out. I know you're good for others.

Posted on: 2009/9/16 16:03
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One question about the actual renovation. They removed the dirt/grass/rocks combination from mcwilliams, and replaced it all with concrete. Why not plant a few trees along the street as well?

Posted on: 2009/9/16 12:35
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I should add, the noise coming from the park is not the only late night disturbance in our lovely gentrified neighborhood. Late night garbage pick up, loud people walking past my home and barking dogs being waked past midnight have all woken me up.

It's the mix of life when living in an increasing dense and attractive neighborhood. When it becomes totally unbearable people will start to move away. There's a tolerance courtesy balance associated with living around here. Our homes are pressed up against each others, parking is becoming more difficult, more trucks come through our historic neighborhood. Throughout all of this perspective must be maintained. The more people that move in, the more thoughtful we must all be.

Posted on: 2009/9/16 10:22
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SamS wrote:
Over the years there have been more than a few mornings when I have had to leave my home around 6 am for work. While passing Hamilton Park I observed dog owners running their dogs off leash in Hamilton Park and yelling to them for their return. I remember thinking, how it must suck living on the park having to hear these people wake you up so early. My friends and neighbors who live on the park confirmed such frustration.

Of course I also sympathize with the people who live near the basketball courts who have to deal with the noise from the people playing loudly in courts past 10 pm and in violation of park hours and rules.

In both instances the police should be called and the violators penalized. Difficult to manage is prevention of both violations. Maybe if enough people are penalized that may control both problems. Though I somehow doubt it.

Interestingly when I was house shopping I originally fell in love with the prospect of living on the park. But very glad I was dissuaded from that idea.


I could not agree with you more. However... I was not dissuaded from living on the park, and even though i live on 8th across from the basketball games i can still hear the yelling and screaming. As for the dogs that will take care of itself. I am very much against the off leash dogs that were in the park, but MOST of those owners were very respectful of the noise level early in the morning and late at night. You get the ignorant who lets their dogs bark for half an hour at midnight here and there, but i have to say they were not the regulars out there. That mostly happened in the tennis courts.

Posted on: 2009/9/16 3:18
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Over the years there have been more than a few mornings when I have had to leave my home around 6 am for work. While passing Hamilton Park I observed dog owners running their dogs off leash in Hamilton Park and yelling to them for their return. I remember thinking, how it must suck living on the park having to hear these people wake you up so early. My friends and neighbors who live on the park confirmed such frustration.

Of course I also sympathize with the people who live near the basketball courts who have to deal with the noise from the people playing loudly in courts past 10 pm and in violation of park hours and rules.

In both instances the police should be called and the violators penalized. Difficult to manage is prevention of both violations. Maybe if enough people are penalized that may control both problems. Though I somehow doubt it.

Interestingly when I was house shopping I originally fell in love with the prospect of living on the park. But very glad I was dissuaded from that idea.

Posted on: 2009/9/16 0:28
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The screaming, swearing, and trash bothers me just as much as off leash dogs. The Adult owners of the off leash dogs are there every day and everynight.
The young idiot trash mouths playing ball are there once in a while.

Pick your battles i guess.

Posted on: 2009/9/15 21:15
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jcnight wrote:
hmmmmm. I thought all city parks were to close at 10:00pm

That includes dogs and basketball. Hamilton Park is a city park last time i checked. What if they enforce that rule. No dogs, people or basketball. WOW, wonder what kind of bitching that would start


They have enforced it after I called the JCPD. On several occasions.

I love how some people are not bothered by the screaming and yelling at midnight but just imagining a dog is off leash makes them insane.

Posted on: 2009/9/15 1:17
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hmmmmm. I thought all city parks were to close at 10:00pm

That includes dogs and basketball. Hamilton Park is a city park last time i checked. What if they enforce that rule. No dogs, people or basketball. WOW, wonder what kind of bitching that would start

Posted on: 2009/9/14 23:46
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The BB court adds no value to the neighborhood and is, instead, a nuisance. Anyone who would deny that is deluded or hopelessly PC. No area of the park collected more trash and more problems than that court. I support the summer leagues but they can play at Enos Jones, as they did this year, or the Charter School. The 2am basketball games are a disgrace and no one should have to put up with that. BTW? I don't even live near the courts but I have seen and heard the screaming and yelling on summer nights and anyone who would excuse that behavior is an idiot.

You beat this drum alone. Not just your liberal neighbors but those conservative as well just about unanimously agree that taking away basketball courts from an inner city park is pretty dumb. No, we don't believe as you say in another thread that these kids will "go out and rob and stab." Hyperbole forgiven, but we only say that they are in a better place on a bb court than on the streets.

As for providing residents with the phone number of the police to call when things get loud, how does this differ with calling the cops when dogs are off leash. You think that off leash law-breakers are not worthy of bothering the cops but bb playing kids are?

The courts are a nuisance to you and just about no one else, not even those who live adjacent to them.



In other words, F*** You to the people whose sleep and quality of life are disturbed. Very nice thought neighbor. As many have stated there are very nice courts just 3 blocks west in Enos Jones Park. There is also room there for many more courts out of ear-shot of residents. And as I and others have stated we have nothing against basketball but it is disgusting that these courts are left open and un-patrolled late into the night. Anyone who states that these 2am, 3am and 5am games are not a disturbance is, quite frankly, deaf or DUMB. I propose giving the local residents a 10 foot ladder and 2 automobile "clubs" for the rims to lock up the courts at night. That is if the park ever re-opens.... Guess I wasn't that far off about the contamination.

Posted on: 2009/9/14 20:45
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I believe the basketball court should always be part of Hamilton Park. I think city basketball courts are a good thing. Opportunities for recreation are in short supply in urban areas, and they need to be expanded. In terms of the noise, it's just unavoidable when the basketball court is open. And someone has to live near the court. (I will be living near the children's play area when the park is complete. I'm not too thrilled, but someone had to, unless they cut down all the trees and put all the activities in the middle of the park-- and that's not a good idea either.)

I think a good compromise would be to enforce the park closures at 10 pm, although these things are never enforced, except for about a week after someone complains.

Posted on: 2009/9/14 16:31
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this isn't a dog vs. basketball issue. I believe the park closes at 10pm..neither dog or hoopster should be in the park after 10pm. Kids and schools use the court during the day....the court , in and by titself is not the problem.

Posted on: 2009/9/14 15:50
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You beat this drum alone. Not just your liberal neighbors but those conservative as well just about unanimously agree that taking away basketball courts from an inner city park is pretty dumb. No, we don't believe as you say in another thread that these kids will "go out and rob and stab." Hyperbole forgiven, but we only say that they are in a better place on a bb court than on the streets. As for providing residents with the phone number of the police to call when things get loud, how does this differ with calling the cops when dogs are off leash. You think that off leash law-breakers are not worthy of bothering the cops but bb playing kids are? The courts are a nuisance to you and just about no one else, not even those who live adjacent to them.



I could not disagree with you more. I live relatively close to the bb court. I moved into the area in March of this year. Once the weather warmed up, I found that on most nights, I could not leave my windows open. I also started going to bed with earplugs. And within the small time frame of moving into the area and the park closing down, there were numerous occasions of being woken up after midnight. Once after 2am, and another around 5am.

As Vigilante has stated before, the amount of trash that the bb court collects is absolutely disgusting.

Considering how relatively quiet the neighborhood is, there is no reason a bb court should be so close to people's homes.

And yeah yeah, we all know how it is illegal to walk a dog off-leash. But do those dogs keep you from sleeping at night?

Posted on: 2009/9/14 15:40
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its a shame that the basketball courts create alot of litter and trash but to write that the courts add no value and aren't used by local residents is not accurate. I live a stones throw from the park and use the courts frequently as do scores of neighborhood kids of various colors and creeds.

Posted on: 2009/9/14 15:38
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The BB court adds no value to the neighborhood and is, instead, a nuisance. Anyone who would deny that is deluded or hopelessly PC. No area of the park collected more trash and more problems than that court. I support the summer leagues but they can play at Enos Jones, as they did this year, or the Charter School. The 2am basketball games are a disgrace and no one should have to put up with that. BTW? I don't even live near the courts but I have seen and heard the screaming and yelling on summer nights and anyone who would excuse that behavior is an idiot.

You beat this drum alone. Not just your liberal neighbors but those conservative as well just about unanimously agree that taking away basketball courts from an inner city park is pretty dumb. No, we don't believe as you say in another thread that these kids will "go out and rob and stab." Hyperbole forgiven, but we only say that they are in a better place on a bb court than on the streets.

As for providing residents with the phone number of the police to call when things get loud, how does this differ with calling the cops when dogs are off leash. You think that off leash law-breakers are not worthy of bothering the cops but bb playing kids are?

The courts are a nuisance to you and just about no one else, not even those who live adjacent to them.

Posted on: 2009/9/14 15:09
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FGJCNJ1970 wrote:
Do you think there is any way that they could finish off the unaffected areas first, and then open the those areas while the affected areas that need remediation is fenced off?
FG


Unfortunately, I don't think that's possible.

The way the contract has been explained to me, the general contractor is responsible for the entire site until the entire job is done no matter what, so if the park were partially opened they would be liable for any accidents, upkeep, repairs from normal wear & tear, etc. that occurred and would have to return the entire park to "finished condition" before getting their final payment. That's a lot of incentive to not partially open the park and they gain nothing by doing so.

On the bright side, it's nearly fall and they're still on track to be done before winter. Hopefully the cleanup/capping won't add significantly to that.

-O

Posted on: 2009/9/12 19:47
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That's a bad guess actually. It was also thought some of the contamination came from the light posts, but bear in mind much of JC is on fill. Often in the spring I find a bunch of crazy stuff in my back yard that resurfaces, such has marbles, glass etc.

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Also, as the area is by the basketball courts, I am guessing that the contaminants are from somebody having a BBQ event while playing B-Ball and then just dumping out their ashes on the ground when they left.

FG

Posted on: 2009/9/12 17:57
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Walked by the park the other day and it does seem they are making a lot of progress. The walkways look great.

Wasn't the expected opening supposed to be in November?

Do you think there is any way that they could finish off the unaffected areas first, and then open the those areas while the affected areas that need remediation is fenced off?

It doesn't make sense to hold the entire park hostage, keeping it closed because, according to those maps, just a small area has contamination.

Also, as the area is by the basketball courts, I am guessing that the contaminants are from somebody having a BBQ event while playing B-Ball and then just dumping out their ashes on the ground when they left. The report even speculates the ash and soot might be from a BBQ.

Lets finish and open the unaffected areas of the park asap!

FG

Posted on: 2009/9/12 17:22
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