HFA explains their Church Square Park proposal

Dear Editor:
At the Jan. 6 Hoboken City Council meeting and in last week’s Hoboken Reporter, a citizen raised concerns about a project of ours, “Project Play,” whose mission is to replace defective and dangerous park equipment in Hoboken Public Parks, starting with sections of Church Square Park. Since there seem to be a few misunderstandings of what, exactly, we are proposing, we’d like to present the facts here:
What is HFA proposing to do at Church Square Park?
HFA proposes to replace defective and dangerous playground equipment in three sections of Church Square Park: (1) the toddler park along 4th street targeted to 2-5 year old children, (2) the swing area along 4th street, and (3) the center area targeted to 5-12 year old children. There are no proposals to alter the newer playground areas on the North side of the park.
Why is this necessary?
The park equipment in the target areas is estimated to be about 20 years old. Problems include extensive splintering wood, rusted and missing nails and bolts, as well as other visual signs of decay (view photos of the severely deteriorated state of the equipment at www.hobokenfamily.com). This situation not only is extremely dangerous for the children that play in the park each day and the schools whose children use the playground but also presents a liability risk to the City of Hoboken. We also aim to improve the visual aesthetics of the target sections of the park by using materials and colors that blend with the natural environment.
Does HFA propose to remove any shrubbery or greenery in the Park?
No. Our proposal relates only to the playground equipment that is within the existing gated or fenced areas mentioned above.
How much is this estimated to cost and who will pay for it?
The entire project is estimated to cost approximately $500,000. Although this would ordinarily be an expense incurred by the City, Project Play aims to subsidize a large percentage of the cost through private fundraising and grants.
Do you propose to allow sponsors to have any visual representation or advertising in the park?
We believe that private donations will be an important source of funding for the initiative; however, the decision will rest with the City Council. We have proposed to the Sub-committee to allow sponsors to be represented on masonry pavers between the target sections of the park. We believe this is the least obtrusive method of supporting private donations and a small price to pay to avoid further taxing the City budget.
We look forward to working closely with the Parks & Recreation Sub-committee and each member of the Council to produce a solution that pleases both the City and its residents. If you have comments or suggestions about our proposals, please contact the Project Play Co-Chairs, Regina Gannon and Zabrina Stoffel, at HobokenProjectPlay@gmail.com

Laura Burkhart
Director of Community Affairs
Hoboken Family Alliance

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