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Perth Amboy Breaks Ground on Downtown Pocket Park

Perth Amboy Breaks Ground on Downtown Pocket Park

New Green Space is Latest Initiative as City Officials Continue to Enhance Green Spaces

PERTH AMBOY – June xx, 2024 – City officials are unveiling plans to build a downtown pocket park at Smith Street and Madison Avenue, formerly known as Fink Park, as part of an ongoing effort to curate more green spaces throughout the neighborhoods.
The upcoming park is part of the city’s ongoing efforts to enhance public safety and enrich community spaces, said Mayor Helmin J. Caba, noting the past three years have brought six new parks to Perth Amboy while 11 others have been upgraded.

The idea for this pocket park was conceived in 2021, when Perth Amboy received a technical assistance grant from “Together North Jersey” to plan how the space can be enhanced, explained Tashi Vazquez, executive director, Perth Amboy Redevelopment Agency.

“While some may think this was an official park, it wasn’t,” she said. “For many years, this parcel was privately owned and underutilized. Together with the Perth Amboy Business Improvement Corporation, the Office of Economic and Community Development (OECD) staff and with the help of business owners in the area, residents and students, we crafted a plan to purchase the property and came up with some cool ideas for this space.”

Development of the park brought in residents of all ages. There were community surveys, student depictions, and small business owner input, suggesting anything from vending machines to phone chargers to bird feeders. Based on the wants and needs of the community, the pocket park concept plan includes a stage, shade structures, picnic and seating areas, ample lighting, and a raised deck to create an organic environment in the bustling downtown.

“This progress has been possible through the invaluable input of our residents, who shared their visions for what they wanted these spaces to offer,” Mayor Caba said. “From fostering community interaction and improving health and fitness to beautifying our surroundings and protecting the environment, the objectives of our latest pocket park are clear.”

City leaders envision the pocket park, one of the very few open spaces in the entire length of Smith Street, as a hub of activity and serenity, reflecting the unique character of Perth Amboy through all seasons.

Noelia Colon, Deputy Director of OECD, said, “Designs have been in the works for 18 months. The effort included securing a $688,000 state grant for the acquisition of the property from the state Department of Community Affairs’ Neighborhood Preservation Program.”
“And just a few weeks ago, on May 8, the Urban Enterprise Zone State board approved my application for another $700,000 for its construction,” Colon said. “That’s in addition to another $25,000 allocated by the Perth Amboy Business Improvement Corporation with a commitment to support with additional funds as the project progresses.”

Marking the groundbreaking, Mayor Caba expressed appreciation to Barry Rosengarten, a lifelong advocate of Perth Amboy and a vocal leader of the Perth Amboy Business Improvement Corporation for years. Rosengarten played a key role in acquiring the property.

“Barry’s efforts in real estate and community development, his role in enriching the lives of our youth through initiatives like introducing sailing at Perth Amboy High School, and his creation of the `Celebrate Perth Amboy’ organization have significantly enhanced the quality of life in our city,” said Mayor Caba, presenting Rosengarten with a plaque of appreciation.
“Barry’s commitment extends through his voluntary roles, impacting economic development and fostering strong governmental relationships, all in service to Perth Amboy and its residents,” he added. “Because of his efforts, we have recognized him and his ongoing contributions to the City of Perth Amboy. We look forward to continuing to honor him in the future."