The city presented its latest conceptual design for the soccer field at 1600 Park to about 60 interested citizens, officials and stakeholders in the basement of City Hall on Monday night.
The field——will be opened this year, Mayor Dawn Zimmer said. The city will start the bidding process this spring to find a company to start renovating the park, located at 16th and Park Avenue.
"It'd be ideal to have it in the Fall," said Director of Health and Human Services Leo Pellegrini, in time for the start of the season of the city's recreational leagues.
Zimmer said that the soccer field at Sinatra Park will also see construction this year. The contract to hire a construction firm for that field will be on the city council's agenda at the first meeting in February.
Several drawings were presented on Monday night by landscape architect John Imbiano, of the firm Imbiano and Quigley, which was hired by the city for this project. Citizens expressed some of their wishes—a dog run, enough restrooms—and provided feedback to the drawings.
One of the initial problems at the park was contamination of the soil there, which would have had to be solved by raising the soccer field and surround it with a seven-foot-wall. This option raised concerns from parents (who found it unsafe) as well as members of the stakeholder committee (who didn't find it aesthetically pleasing).
"The stakeholders went to the mayor and said 'stop,'" said Jim Vance, who represents the Fund for a Better Waterfront on the stakeholder group. After that, Vance continued, Imbiano helped create a new design.
The contaminated soil will be moved from the soccer field site, said Director of Community Development Brandy Forbes. She could not say on Monday with what the soil was contaminated.
The new park will be paid for with a Green Acres grant, Forbes said also. The city has $1.7 million to construct the soccer field at 1600 Park and $1 million to renovate the Hoboken Cove.
Another reason , was the lack of a traffic signal at the intersection of 16th Street and Park Avenue. The park will still not open without it, city directors said. The city and the county are currently in the process of coordinating the placement of the traffic light before the park opens.