A new four-acre park opened this past weekend in downtown Newark providing public access to the Passaic River for the very first time. Flanked by the bay and river, the city is home to one of the nation’s largest containers shipping terminals, yet residents have long been cut off from the waterfront. This new stretch of parkland occupies the former site of the Balbach Smelting and Refining Worksone and is now part of the Riverfront Park that neighbors the 12-acre Essex County Riverfront Park. Designed by Lee Weintraub Landscape Architecture and the Newark Planning Office, the park features an orange boardwalk made of recycled plastic, a floating boat dock, sports fields, walking and biking paths, and an area for performances.
Once a dumping site, the polluted river is an EPA Superfund site and in the midst of an intensive clean-up process. The project–a joint effort between the City of Newark, Essex County, and the Trust for Public Land–cost $9 million in private and public funding. An additional 3-acre segment of the park is in the works and planned to break ground in the near future once all the funding is secured.