New Church Square Park Playground Leaves Some Moms Disappointed

Mothers with younger children say the playground is only appropriate for older kids.

Some mothers in Hoboken are disappointed with the new equipment in Church Square Park.

The new playground opened last week.

In a letter to Mayor Dawn Zimmer and through posts on Twitter, the moms have expressed their disappointment.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer responded that she is "open to suggestions."

"@Hobmom33 please send me an email w/your suggestions & contact info-dzimmer@hobokennj.org. After new year I will discuss w/planner," Zimmer wrote.

Pollyn Horvath, one local mom, expressed her concern in a letter to the mayor, which is published below.

Dear Mayor Zimmer,

The great draw of Church Square Park before the renovation was the designated areas for different age groups. Families with multiple-aged children could find something for the whole family. As a mom of twin 3 yr olds, it was nice to have a gated area with age-appropriate equipment. We graduated from the toddler park to the 4th Street side (and center area when it wasn't crowded) and were very excited for the renovation. I expected upgraded equipment, while keeping the same concept of separate areas.

The equipment for older kids looks great, but it has left the 2-5 year olds with few options. I suggest adding a slide to the 4th Street side. I hope it's not too late to make adjustments, otherwise, many families will not be able to use the most centrally-located park in Hoboken.

I looked at the Kompan website and saw 2 slide options that may fit the 4th St area as is. Please see links below.

If there is more space/funds available one of these would be ideal:

As renovation plans begin with Elysian and Stevens Park, I hope that age groups will be considered more closely, as well as providing gated areas (especially at Stevens Park). It makes a world of difference to be able to enjoy the playground without fear of your child wandering off. I know I am not alone in seeking safe and appropriate equipment for preschoolers.

I grew up in Jersey City and have lived in Hoboken for 8 years. The city has come a very long way and I love my community.Thank you for considering these suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you.


Pollyn Horvath

Hobmom333 December 27, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Many parents provided their input by submitting the online survey and attending meetings. The plans showed designated areas for older kids and preschoolers but the actuality is there is nothing for preschoolers except buckets to spin on. Preschoolers lost 3 play structures and got none in the renovation. For those of you without children, I can see why you don't care. You don't need or want a playground. However, this was a playground renovation and there are tons of children and many schools in Hoboken that use it. Please don't tell me to move to the suburbs--that's a cop out. Every city has limited space and yet space is designated for playgrounds. They are necessary and if you had children, you would appreciate playgrounds, too. Those that like the new playground are parents of older kids. It's wonderful for big kids and I'm glad they have challenging equipment. The planning committee did a great job catering to their needs. There is room however, to give all ages a section to play in and all it would take is adding a slide to the 4th St side that was designated a preschool section in the plans. You may see it as complaining, but many parents see it as trying to rectify a situation while we may still be able to do so.
Journey December 27, 2012 at 07:54 PM
The space was blocked off, no one was running around it. Sorry to say this, but I suspect that the majority will win. So if you want to sell parents on the value of open natural space, you might want to do it with out attacking them. Don't just put down their desires but really sell yours. I have suggested to the city and online that the southern section would be nice left open as passive space. Now suggesting to the city that they have to make more info available in advance of meeting is a very good suggestion.
Sudsy Buggy December 27, 2012 at 08:56 PM
All the family haters need to get a life... or better yet a family.  We tolerate the smelly dog run and the late night bar antics and noise…. so try to find it in your heart to respect others.  We live in a big city and there is room for all of us.   Anyways, as a working mom and someone who supported Project Play I expected the same "age" standard equipment.  It is very difficult working full time with two children under the age of 4.  In hindsight, yes I should have attended the meetings however isn't it a fair assumption that if it was toddler/preschooler friendly before... wouldn't it be after?  I had such a hard time lifting my 3 year old daughter up the rock wall this past Saturday.  She ended up playing in the gated park which we nicknamed "Dizzy World" considering she wanted to fall on the ground after playing for 2 minutes.  I felt so bad for her as I watched her struggle to keep up with the older kids.    In the past she never wanted to leave CSP but on this particular visit, she had no objections to going home and taking a nap mind you… that was a first!!   Please reconsider using the area on 5th street to add a little slide or something.  There are lots of options on the Kompan website.  I'd even be open to help raise money for the new equipment.  
Indiecom December 27, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Journey: Perhaps at a point in time the area was blocked off - BUT the area that used to house the younger kids stuff was ABSOLUTELY open & children were ABSOLUTELY playing there. I saw it with my own eyes. As to insulting people - not sure if you were referring to me, but, stating that people that pushed for the toddler area several years back are (likely) the people pushing for the older kids' play stuff isn't an insult. I wouldn't be insulted if anyone referred to me as someone constantly pushing for open/green space and pushing against more & more "things" being crammed into the park. I also think everyone knows the value of open/green space, I've never heard someone that doesn't, but, I have have heard some suggest that the open green space is on the waterfront & those of us that want/like open/green space should go there for it. Now, that's an insult! I agree with Tony - the park can't be all things to all people, but at this point, I believe that enough open space has been pushed out of the park and huge swaths of rubber around the dolphins, a synthetic reading area and 5 or 10 or whatever number of picnic tables is planned is an unfair encroachment on the PARK space...what little actually remains. To even add a slide (on 5th st.???) is too much unless the monkey bars are removed and it is placed there. Just my opinion but, at this point, to me - you add any more "stuff" you have to remove an equal amount of "stuff" and replace the open space.
Indiecom December 27, 2012 at 11:12 PM
wow, just to underscore my point, I just noticed that David L. used the 'go to the waterfront' refrain in his post. Personally, that's the insult. I'm not a fan of the new equipment, but - that area, for years, has been an area with playground equipment - on the other hand, the space that has for decades been open, passive & green never gets left alone - and that is the issue that I have. Sure, the park can't be all things to all people, but at the meeting where the plan was unveiled there was a room overwhelmingly full of people saying - leave the park alone. Now, that we have the new playground equipment, can we please - leave the park alone???
bubbles December 28, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Room for all of us? Get a life? Family haters? Perspective: If you felt that the structures at Church Square Park weren't the right fit for your child, you could go a block (or two) away and use the playground between 5th and 6th on Clinton or Columbus Park on Clinton and 8th street or Elysian park on Hudson and 10th street or the park on 4th and monroe or the park on clinton between 11th and 12th or the Maxwell Park at 11th and Maxwell Place. Every one of those parks has lots of 3-5 yo equipment, in fully enclosed areas. If every park has to fully cater to every age group and every species then I'd say the older kids and adults (with or without kids) are due their share of park space.
CaptJackd December 28, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Tony, maybe you're not reading between the lines. And, you do remember that Hoboken did have horse stables just a few years ago. Some expectations in town have been 'managed' more strictly than others, apparently.
HobokenLeaks December 28, 2012 at 02:56 PM
What did you expect from the "media sponsor" for Beth's latest fraud?
puzzledone December 28, 2012 at 05:03 PM
I think horse stables to give the police horses somewhere to stay when they are not being used and riding stables for the public are too pretty different things...Pretty sure if I went to those stables and asked to ride a horsey, it wouldn't go so well.
CaptJackd December 28, 2012 at 05:10 PM
@puzzledone: where are the taxpayers' horses?
Grafix Avenger December 28, 2012 at 06:43 PM
I have to agree with bubbles. I really don't understand the fuss. There are plenty of options for small ones in Hoboken. IMO, it's the 5-12 year-olds that are under-served in this City, and this more-challenging equipment is meeting that group's needs. What about CSP's fenced-in toddler park for the 3 and 4 year-olds? Really, I don't get the fuss at all. I used to make the rounds of all the parks with my kid- From Pier A to Elysian and every one in between. For everyone who is complaining, in a couple of years your child will be very happy with CSP's equipment. And yes, it is impossible to please everyone. Also, there's the water park on 3rd and Madison that was designed for younger kids. And Stevens Park on 4th and Hudson with play equipment for the small ones. Just walk there.
puzzledone December 28, 2012 at 06:54 PM
...I don't know where they went. Do the Hoboken police stil have their own horses? If they do, did they find cheaper real estate than places that were sold to put up million dollar condos to stable them? Were children ever allowed to ride the police horses stabled in Hoboken, making your question at all relevant to the thread about city parks?
Sudsy Buggy December 28, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Totally useless forum. I don't understand why people with no kids and who have not been impacted.....are even discussing this!! Don't you have anything better to do with your time??? Is Hoboken411 not satisfying your need for negativity these days? Kind of creepy..... Parents- watch your children in the park there are many bitter & angry people lurking.
CaptJackd December 28, 2012 at 08:42 PM
I agree with your first two sentences, Tony. From purely a functional perspective, I would vote to replace the gazebo with a concession with lawn chair rentals; coop w/library for media on loan, and maintain a nice section lawn for adults to enjoy devoid of jungle gyms. Put up a temporary ice skating rink in the winter--either in one of the basketball courts or on the lawn--sell hot chocolate, etc. But since ~80% of playground-age kids in Hoboken are <5 yrs old, when you do invest in playground equipment, that should be an important factor to consider (maybe the most important?).
David A. Liebler December 28, 2012 at 11:19 PM
The playground equipment that was in the park, including all the rubber matting was worn out and needed to be replaced. You speak of the park as if it was a person. Give it a rest already, whether you are a old farty 49 year old who likes to just complain about everyone or everything or an anti-kid/playground mongul, you are starting to sound insane. For God's sake, they replaced equipment for the betterment of the families and kids who use them, they did not cut down trees nor did they increase the playground equipment. Give it a rest and move on to another topic, like politics, flooding prevention, lowering taxes, public safety or education.
tony December 29, 2012 at 10:01 PM
People with "No Kids" have a stake in this community. ESPECIALLY if we are Paying towards the PUBLIC park we all own. Your last sentence is simply perverted.
tony December 29, 2012 at 10:05 PM
LIEBLER, you are now attacking when nobody else is. Why? Yes, I'm 49 and I owned and paid PROPERTY Taxes in this town a long time, I won't be rolling up my carpet anytime soon. I have fought for open space as an activist long before you knew there was a Hoboken. Please calm down. I supported project play and all the park supporters, why must you get nasty all the time? You aren't helping your clients.
tony December 29, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Typical OLD GUARD and Anti spin, anyone who offers suggestions and may or may not be married, is "Creepy" or needs to "Get a life" That's funny, because if we don't have lives, how bad is yours that you must care about what I say on this forum. We need to support the Mayor is acquiring more open space. NEW Land is THE answer. Ask the experts, the planning experts, not the guys looking for PR contracts.
Rory Chadwick December 29, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Make the viaduct a giant Slip and Slide!
Norton December 30, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Dear Mr & Mrs Yuppie Entitlement. Us, the largest capitalist country on the planet is in debt to the largest Communist country on the planet for 1 trillion doillars. Your country is drone bombing 3 or 4 countries, occupying 2 and fighting an active war in one of them, and we now have 1000 bases around the planet, costing us a total of of 2 billion plus dollars a week. We're itching to start a war in one more, namely, Iran, and, we're about ready to go over a fiscal cliff which will mean austerity programs will kick in ala Greece and Spain, and your worried about, about...a playground!! And not what I just listed...where's the rage about that?! This new one looks exciting to me...I'd love to play on it! As a child, I played on the streets of Newark. NJ with a bicycle and maybe a bat and ball, or a water pistol. My play ground had swings, a sandbox, and a merry go round which we would all fall off and skin our knees, etc, on asphalt. Let what ever age child play on this new one. It's called excitement! A challenge, they'll be getting out of their comfort zone, trying harder, and if they fall, there's plenty of cushion to catch them. And I can gaurantee that the oder will dissapate soon...it's like new varnish or paint...it has to dry. In ending, Mr & Mrs...apprehend your hubris and rethink your disapointments and priorities. The park is for every one! Happy New Year to all!
CaptJackd December 30, 2012 at 04:16 AM
What's going on wih disappearing comments?
XJS December 31, 2012 at 03:34 PM
I agree Indie, more green space without playground equipment would be great.
XJS December 31, 2012 at 03:37 PM
@Norton- was your post meant to be directed at me?
XJS December 31, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Agreed. One thing I love about Hoboken is how terrible our school system is. It encourages people with kids to leave. Now if we could only drive the daycares & elementary schools out of town. Then it's a town just for adults, like the good old days. No I'm not serious.
Norton December 31, 2012 at 06:53 PM
No, XJS, my comment wasn't aimed at you. We seem to agree that the park is for EVERYONE, not one group who raises corporate monies to improve a pubilc place, and by doing so, thinks they have a say as to what it can or not contain, and who can "play." My main concern is the energy and rage put into complaining about a park, just a park, should be directed towards your country, and it's government which is driving it down the tubes, FAST! This park is but a speck on thre radar screen of reality! I stand by what I said.
Sudsy Buggy December 31, 2012 at 07:48 PM
The only reason why I care about your comments are because you are polluting the discussion. I understand you pay taxes however.... This new playground didn't take any open space away from you. We as parents are just disappointed in the simple fact that CSP which used to provide something for EVERYONE...... excluded our preschoolers. I apologize for my tone.... I'm frustrated. This park was a great part of our lives. I will miss mornings here followed by a trip to the library :(
Norton December 31, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Whats going on with disappearing comments?...one can't get too controversial on an AOL site. Just clean Mom and Pop fun lite news. "The truth, you can't handle the truth!"
Carter Craft January 01, 2013 at 11:01 PM
really like the new park... could there be more for our 18 month old when he is 2-3-4? sure. is it challenging for our 4 year old? oh yeah, but he seems to enjoy it. i think i went to at least 2 of the three or four meetings about the re-design, including the first one with former Director Maier (I've done hundreds of meetings but THAT was an interesting one :) they seemed well advertised. the number of people at the meetings was clearly a fraction of the almost 200 who took the survey. But from the analysis I saw of the survey it seems like the present park responded to those desires and concerns. Fortunately for all of us there are still companies that make Balls, Wheeled Things and other toys so the physical development of our kids doesn't have to depend ONLY on these playgrounds!
NCV Monroe January 03, 2013 at 02:26 AM
I agree with HM2. That park was so great being able to be used by several age groups. Hope it can get fixed.
Hobmom333 January 13, 2013 at 07:54 PM
I've been hearing a lot that parents should have gotten involved at the planning stage instead of complaining after the fact. The plans clearly show that there was to be equipment for all ages. See Goal #4: http://www.hobokennj.org/docs/env/csp/Church-Square-Park-Playground-Equipment.pdf These plans led parents to believe that preschoolers would have equipment, like the slide pictured, hence, the complaints. And to clarify again, there is a baby area for babies to 2, the new equipment for 5-12, and a few buckets for ages 3-5. Frankly, I wouldn't let my 5 yr old near that huge slide for fear of falling and getting knocked over by the much bigger kids. Children need separate play areas.


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