October 5, 2022 – The People’s Park Foundation, a coalition of Jersey City community leaders and stakeholders led by Hall of Fame Basketball Coach Bob Hurley, Former Mayor Gerald McCann, Hudson County Commissioner Jerry Walker, and Attorney Elnardo Webster today announced their formation as a Jersey City based 501c3. The Foundation aims to assist the state and local government in revitalizing, improving, and endowing Liberty State Park for generations to come.
According to Hurley, “The goal is to create exciting programs for all ages which will include building a world class community recreation center that will enable youth, teenagers, parents, and seniors to have their lives enriched.” The community center will be 250,000 square feet and will include an Olympic sized swimming and diving pool, two ice hockey rinks, indoor basketball courts, pickleball courts, an indoor track, community health center, and community rooms.
The People’s Park team has also directed the building of multi-use sports fields within the park. “We will create a football stadium, track and field stadium, outdoor amphitheater, and convert the old train shed that is currently crumbling and in disrepair into a flexible market space,” Hurley stated. Community gardens are also a central piece of the restoration with programming for schools and the community to learn about growing their own food, supporting local food pantries, and taking care of the environment. The overall park plan calls for using only 15 percent of the 600 upland acres.
The team representing the Foundation has been working together for over two years to make this possible. Hurley also added the team has, “researched top programs throughout the U.S. and has worked with renowned architects and urban planners, as well as a leading sports management company to evaluate the best options for the Jersey City community.”
“As County Commissioner it is my belief this commitment is the best step moving forward in making Liberty State Park a destination park for everyone throughout Jersey City and the state of New Jersey,” Jerry Walker stated. Elnardo Webster added, “this is a great time for all community members to recognize we must be committed on all fronts in ensuring the People’s Park is accessible to all residents. We would like to thank the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation for providing the seed funding and guidance for this organization.”
In July 2022, the New Jersey Legislature passed the Liberty State Park Conservation, Recreation, and Community Inclusion Act awarding the first $50 million which will be followed by additional state funds as the project successfully moves forward.