Project Description

After being stalled for almost 15 years, this six acre former brownfield is being remediated into a world class waterfront park through the coupled efforts of a collaborative, community led process and a resourceful approach to financing.

In 1997, the City of Perth Amboy acquired an active scrap metal yard for the creation of new parkland along the Raritan River.  After the City’s long legal battle over the site, Topology team member Annie Hindenlang, in her role as Perth Amboy’s City Planner, working with the Middlesex County Improvement Authority (MCIA), utilized funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields Program to contract a team from Rutgers University’s Center for Urban & Environmental Sustainability and The Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy to develop a concept design to convert the contaminated site into a park.  Rutgers conducted an extensive community outreach process receiving feedback from over 500 city residents, students and members of the surrounding neighborhood.  By the fall of 2016, with assistance from the Department of Environmental Protection, the City acquired over $7 million in funding for final design, remediation, and construction of the park.

The final design for the park was completed by SCAPE Landscape Architects and Colliers Engineering and Design. The design of the park reflects a diversity of proposed activities and ecological restoration that connects the park to the shoreline, the local neighborhood, and Perth Amboy’s urban center. Remediation work is ongoing under VHB, Inc. Since the beginning of site remediation, the project has been plagued by several unanticipated challenges such as the discovery of unexploded ordinances and white phosphorus on-site. These discoveries have greatly increased the scope and costs for remediation in order to ensure public safety and the proper disposal of these hazardous materials. The City has since been engaging with the USEPA for assistance in managing these challenging conditions. As remediation progresses, the City is expecting to begin park development in 2023.

Key Insight: Even with the most difficult sites, strong community support, resourcefulness and a clear vision can achieve the impossible.

Type

Capital Planning & Development

Role

City Planner / Grant Writer

Project Team:

Municipal:

Helmin Caba, Mayor

Kenneth Ortiz, Recreation Director

William Kurzenberger, Office of Economic & Community Development

Over 500 Perth Amboy Residents

Rutgers University – Center for Urban & Environmental Sustainability:

Wolfram Hoefer

Richard Alomar

Beth Ravit

County:

Design Nickel, Middlesex County Department of Business Development & Education

Nick Tufaro, Middlesex County Office of Planning

State:

Lou Valente, Department of Environmental Protection

William Lindner, Department of Environmental Protection

Alan Miller, Department of Environmental Protection

Remediation Team:

VHB

Design Team:

SCAPE Landscape Architecture

Colliers Engineering and Design

Program

6 Acre Linear Park

Play Mountain

Skate and Bike Park

Living Shoreline

Splash Pad

Community Gardens

Green Infrastructure

Adventure Playground

Status

Remediation: 2021-2022

Construction: 2022-2023