Monday, October 5, 2009

HPNA Bylaws - Updated!

As mentioned in this month's newsletter, the HPNA board has been working over the past few months to update our bylaws. Below are the current bylaws and the set of bylaws proposed by the board. The changes are highlighted in red. Please take a chance to review the changes; we plan to discuss these in the December meeting (with follow-ups during the January meeting). If you have revisions you would like the board to consider before the December General Meeting please email using the contact us link on this page.

In February we will vote on both these new bylaws and conduct the elections for the 2010 board.

Speaking of Elections two friendly reminders:
  1. We will be taking officer & trustee nominations in the December General Meeting as well. The nomination period will be open from the December meeting until the opening of the February meeting. Any HPNA member who is eligible to vote may run for a Trustee position. Any person who has served on the HPNA Board for a year or more is eligible to run as an Officer. Since we will be voting in the bylaws FIRST, you should be prepared to uphold both the current and proposed bylaws should you choose to run.
  2. In order to vote on the bylaws & in the elections you will need to be a current member for at least the past 90 days. this means if you haven't done so you must become a 2009 HPNA member no later than the November General Meeting. Also since ALL memberships renew each January you will need to renew your membership in January in order to vote at the February meeting!


Current HPNA Bylaws

Proposed HPNA Bylaws - 2009 Rev 3

Friday, September 11, 2009

HPNA General Meeting Follow-up

Attached are the meeting minutes and the maps with the contaminated areas, specific chemicals, and concentrations which were displayed & discussed during the September HPNA Meeting on the Soil Contamination issues in Hamilton Park.

You can click on each map image for a larger version. Anyone looking for background information should click here: Hamilton Park Renovation Update

090902 HPNA Sept Mtg Notes

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hamilton Park Renovation Update

Last week, members of the HPNA met with the Division of Architecture to review overall progress for the Hamilton Park renovation. Soil contamination notwithstanding, the renovation of the park appears to be going well. A great deal of progress has been made and the renovation is on schedule to complete by late fall (although the schedule may be impacted by the contamination clean-up).

The following tasks have been completed:
  • Tree removal
  • Underground flood basins
  • Curb and Sidewalks on 8th, 9th & West Hamilton
  • Water & Sewer work on 8th Street
  • Underground Electrical Work
  • Drainage & Inlet work
  • Light pole foundations
  • Sanitary Sewer lines
  • Wet taps & Water lines
Which leaves:
  • Fountain (partially complete)
  • Spray Park (partially complete)
  • Light poles (partially complete)
  • Dog Runs (partially complete)
  • Basketball & Tennis courts (soil contaminants need to be addressed first)
  • Playgrounds (soil contaminants need to be addressed first)
  • Amphitheater (soil contaminants need to be addressed first)
  • Gazebo & Community Garden (partially complete)
  • Fencing
  • Interior sidewalks
  • Fine grading
  • Landscaping & cleanup
During our meeting we were shown the construction samples of the walkways as well as the plans for both the fountain and community billboards which will be at each corner of the park.

One item of concern which came out of the meeting involves a few trees which are either diseased, at the end of their natural lives, or severely damaged in the thunderstorms we had a couple of weeks ago. Two of the trees are on the path leading in from the southeast corner of the park (on the right), one is in the large dog run, one is near the gazebo (directly to the west of it), and the remaining two near the center of the park. The City has reiterated their commitment save trees wherever possible and will replace each of the trees which must be removed. A full copy of the Arborist's reports can be found at the bottom of this post.

Soil Contamination:

The other, more pressing, issue is the soil contamination. Results indicate several areas of concern which contain elevated levels of lead, arsenic and hydrocarbons (which are most likely due to the combustion of organic fuels).

There are several options for addressing the contaminants which range from capping to full remediation (removal). Each method has its own cost and impact ranging from $75k for capping to $500 - $750k for full removal. Capping will have with no impact to trees or the park renovation time line, while full remediation will cause the loss of approximately 24 trees, and a delay on the completion of park renovation.

The city has asked for community input regarding the clean-up decision. The Division of Architecture along with Councilman Fulop has arranged for an environmental consultant to be present at September’s HPNA meeting to present the findings and discuss the possible solutions.

Please join us this
Wednesday, September 2nd at 7:45PM at Cordero Elementary School (located at 158 Erie Street, on the corner of 10th Street) for this very important meeting/update.


Aug 11, 2009 Hamilton Park - Arborist Update June 18, 2009 Hamilton Park - Arborist Report

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Renovation Update: Lead found in Hamilton Park

Hello Everyone,
For those of you who missed yesterday’s HPNA meeting I wanted to bring everyone up-to-date on a development in the Hamilton Park renovation:
In the next day or so Green Construction, the general contractor for the renovation, will erect NJ Department of Environmental Protection mandated environmental testing/cleanup signs around the park. The reason for this is that GC, while testing the soil being removed to accommodate the underground features of the park (water, electrical, etc.), discovered lead contamination in the soil about 20 feet from the gazebo. The Division of Architecture suspects the origin of the lead is either the base material used under concrete in the 1920's (today gravel is used, in the 20's it was cinders left over from steam powered electrical plants) or an old water pipe that ran through the area. Fortunately, the area where the lead was discovered was under the asphalt that surrounded the gazebo so no one was exposed to it.

A preliminary soil report prepared for the Division of Architecture will made available to our group, the Mayor’s office and Councilman Steve Fulop in the next couple of days. Additionally, the Division of Architecture will meet with us next week to go over everything in depth. As mandated by law, the City has notified the NJ DEP and has begun comprehensive testing of the entire park (they are sampling soil in 60+ locations) in order to discover the full extent of contamination within the park. That report should be available in the next 30 days. Soil sampling & testing should not interfere with current construction efforts; however, they will need to remediate whatever contaminants are discovered. The City has proactively committed to cleaning up (rather than capping contamination) as this is a public park. Depending on the full testing results, said cleanup may cause delays or require moving one or more of the retention basins (which could endanger some additional trees in the park). Hopefully this will not be the case.

I’ll update the group as more details emerge. In the meanwhile, I’ve attached the Division of Architecture’s email to the Mayor’s office, Councilman Fulop, and myself. I would like to thank both Glenn Wrigley and Brian Weller in the Division of Architecture. They have done a great job staying contact with us regarding this issue and the park renovation overall.


Begin forwarded message:
From: "Glenn Wrigley"
Date: June 29, 2009 11:06:36 AM EDT
To: "Brian O'Reilly"
Cc: "Olu Howard" ,"Steve Fulop" , "Brian Weller"

I want to keep you informed of a situation that has occurred in Hamilton Park late last week. Green CONSTRUCTION, as part of their contractual obligations, did have areas where soil is being excavated tested for contaminants (per NJDEP requirements before soil can be transported off of any site to an accepting landfill). The reason for excavation at all is to install these new underground drainage structures required by the NJMUA. All test results came back with very low or non-existent contamination levels except for one, which is an area about 20 feet West of the gazebo. This one sample came back with a level for lead which is above DEP acceptable residential standards.

We met with the testing company and we are attempting to delineate just how much of an area may be contaminated with this high level of lead. One suspect reason may be the bedding or base material under old concrete walkways, which are described as cinders. It was common back around the turn of the century and up to the 1930's for cinders from power generating plants to be used as a base course for concrete. It is possible that these chips are the source of the lead levels. Much of the old walkways were removed in the 1970's renovation of the park, but some of the chips probably remained in this spot and were covered over with soil. This new renovation proposes to put this old walkway path back, albeit wider (11 to 12 feet) than the old pathways (about 4 feet).

Since tests were performed, and this level has been detected, the NJDEP must be notified. Such notification naturally makes this a public record. In order to assure the public that the extent of this contamination is found and remediated, NJDEP protocol is for additional testing at a rate of 4 samples per acre (or about 24 samples for this 6.0 acre park). These additional tests will take about 2 to 3 weeks to obtain and analyze. Meanwhile, other construction will continue without delay.

Once notification is given to the NJDEP, this project will be assigned a case number. A hotline number to the DEP is also established so that residents have current information on the investigation. There will be some signs posted around the park (A DEP requirement), letting the public know that an investigation is taking place. The hotline number will be clearly listed on these posters. Full transparent disclosure is the objective here. All test results will be sent to the DEP for review, and a Remedial Action Work Plan (RAWP) will be sent to the DEP for their review and approval. Hopefully, this problem will be limited to the one uncovered location.

I will be happy to meet with you, the Mayor's office, Councilman Fulop, and some HPNA representatives if anyone wishes.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The 2009 Hamilton Park Farmer's Market

This years Farmer's Market will be held in the newly finished Pavoina Ave walking space (between McWilliams Place & Erie Street). The space has been kindly lent to us by Exeter proprieties (owners of Hamilton Square). It begins Wednesday June 3rd and will be every Wednesday there after until November 4th (or so depending on weather).

Last year's Farmer's Market was a great success and we look forward to everyone joining us in making this year even better!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hamilton Park Festival

With the closing of Hamilton Park for renovations the HPNA is sad to announce that the 2009 Hamilton Park Festival (originally scheduled for June 20th) has been postponed until the renovations are complete (Oct/Nov 2009). We know the HPNA's Parkfest has been a tradition for many residents throughout the city however we weren't able to locate a suitable alternative location for this year's event. Rather than our usual Parkfest, the HPNA will have a Parkfest / Hamilton Park renovation celebration when the park reopens this fall.

We hope to see you this fall and hope that you'll still plan to join us for future summer festivals.

The Hamilton Park Farmer's Market will proceed as scheduled. It will be located in the paved walking area on Pavonia Avenue between McWilliams Place & Erie Street (directly across the street from Hamilton Park in front of Hamilton Square).

Olu Howard
HPNA President

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hamilton Park Renovation Update

Hi All,
As I mentioned in my note last Wednesday on the HPNA's email list, the HPNA has been working with the city regarding the closing of Hamilton Park and the park renovation in general. This has been a long hard process to get the renovation underway and we're glad to see it finally come to fruition. On Friday, HPNA board members met with the city's Division of Architecture to reaffirm our lines of communication and to address the concerns raised by some of the residents of the area. The meeting went very well and the city has been very responsive to our needs. They also took the time to provide additional details and documentation around the choices made regarding construction. Attached at the bottom of the email is the letter the city is sending to all the area schools, assisted living facilities, and large condo buildings to notify them of the closure.

In addition to the letter I have added following details from our meeting (which should answer most of the questions posed over the past few days).

Glenn Wrigley, the City's Chief Architect, has apologized for the unannounced closure of Hamilton Park and agreed to do the following to insure the public is notified of the closure of the park (which will occur on April 30, 2009).
  • COMPLETED: The city will send a notification letter to schools, assisted living facilities, large condo buildings, and impacted neighborhood organizations (see attached PDF)
  • COMPLETED: The city will provide a detailed site plan so everyone can see and understand the changes to the park. You can download this site plan from The plans are rather large so this may take some time to download.
  • PENDING: The city will post signs in and around Hamilton Park notifying the public of the closure.
  • The Division of Architecture has committed to arranging a meeting between HPNA representatives and the General Contractor, Green Construction, and will ensure that open lines of communications remain open between the community and the construction team.
  • The Division of Architecture will invite the HPNA to send a representative to the construction progress meetings at least once a quarter (more often if it's warranted/requested). In addition the city will send a copy of the construction meeting minutes to the HPNA after every checkpoint meeting (not just the ones the HPNA attends).
  • Finally Glenn Wrigley, the Chief Architect, and Brian Weller, the Project Manager for the HP renovation, will attend a HPNA general meeting along with Green Construction to bring everyone up to speed on the project's progress and answer any outstanding questions. This is tentatively scheduled for June (the May HPNA meeting is reserved for the Ward E Candidate debate).
Alternate Park Spaces:
The Hamilton Park neighborhood already has a second park less than three blocks from Hamilton Park called Enos Jones Park (located at Brunswick & Eighth Street). Enos Jones features:
  • A playground
  • A Water-spray ground
  • A baseball field
  • A passive use grassy back area for walking dogs, etc.

In addition to our already existing alternate park, Paul Silverman of Exeter Property (developers of Hamilton Square) has graciously offered to allow the city to use now the vacant lot between the two buildings on McWilliams Place as an alternate park space. As mentioned in the Chief Architect's letter, the City has accepted his offer and is working closely with both Exeter Property and Goldman Sachs to build a temporary park which will have the following features:
  • Will be a total of about 14,000 sq. ft directly across from Hamilton Park.
  • Will be fenced in and feature both passive (grassy) recreational space and a playground.
  • Will be open from Dawn to Dusk (it will be locked after dark).
  • Will be dog free.
It should open by May 15, 2009 and will remain open to the public until the renovation is complete.

A lot of concern has been raised over the trees marked with X's. The City has assured us that every effort will be made to save every tree possible and that trees are only marked to come down where absolutely necessary. The trees that are marked fall into the following categories:
  • The tree has to be removed to allow for the installation of rain underground retention basins. These retention basins are essential to prevent the renovated park from overflowing the surrounding sewer systems. Without them homes within a few blocks of the park would flood when it rains
  • The tree is dead / near death. These trees pose a hazard to the general public. If they are left up to fall on their own, there is a very real chance that some will be hurt or killed.
  • The tree is surrounded by asphalt. This last category includes the tree closest to the Hamilton Park gazebo. The General Contractor marked it for potential removal because once the asphalt is removed, the roots will be exposed and if they are unable to stabilize the tree quickly it will fall on its own. The City has stated they will make every effort to save it however it only has about a 50/50 chance of being salvaged.
  • There is one 30" sycamore that was marked a little further North of the gazebo. That is not scheduled for removal. It was marked only because the instructions on the drawings are to remove the cast iron grate around the base of the tree. The tree is being strangled by the grate (which should have been removed years ago). Its marked because removing the grate may damage the tree. Again the City has said they will do what they can to save that tree.
  • Finally, there is also a 12" cherry tree along the pathway from the Ninth Street entrance to the Gazebo that was scheduled for removal. The contractor will attempt to work around it thereby saving that tree as well.
One final note, while it may not be apparent from the previously posted documents, the city is planting additional trees as well. They have provided the HPNA with the landscaping plan which shows the trees being preserved (they look like a cloud) the new trees being put in (they look like circles) and the retention basins being installed to prevent flooding. The landscaping plans can be downloaded at Again this PDF file is rather large so it may take some time to download.

Unfortunately not much could be done here. The park renovation would cost considerably more if it were completed in sections and it would take years rather than months. Additionally, the construction would present a constant safety risk to those people using the park while it went on. The bid contract calls for the park to be completed in 1 year or less and the contractor's internal estimates are that it will be completed in six months.

For any remaining pre-construction questions the HPNA has arranged a public meeting at the Hamilton Park Gazebo on 10:00 AM this Saturday April 25th. Councilman Fulop will answer any outstanding questions regarding the renovation.

Olu Howard
HPNA President

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hamilton Park Renovation Update

The Final Plans are available for viewing:


Construction is about to get underway! Thanks to Jen Greely and everyone else that helped to make this happen.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Become a Member of the HPNA
Membership Form

Sticky post - Always on top

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Students and officials to remember
Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mourners yesterday left flowers and candles in front of the Downtown Jersey City store where a well-liked shop owner was gunned down during a robbery Tuesday. A neighborhood group has also organized a vigil in his honor for tomorrow.

A large arrangement of flowers and candles in front of the Coles Street store where Kiritkumar Parikh, 57, of Van Winkle Avenue, was fatally shot was left there by students from McNair Academic High School, which is kitty-corner from the store.

"Thank you for your many years of kind service to our community," a note from the McNair students read. "Although no words can really help ease the loss you bear, just know that you are very close in every thought and prayer."

The Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association has organized a vigil for the slain grocery store owner to be held at the Hamilton Park gazebo at 7 p.m. tomorrow. Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy and Downtown Councilman Steve Fulop have been asked to speak.

Any neighbors or friends who wish to speak can also say a few words, the HPNA said in a press announcement. Fund information for donations to his family will be available at the vigil.

Fulop, council candidate Frank Scalcione, and mayoral candidate Dan Levin all said yesterday the murder is a sign that more cops need to be walking the beat.

Noting he's increased the ranks of police officers since he's taken office, Healy said he is working with Police Chief Tom Comey to put more police on the streets, in cruisers - and on bikes in the near future.

"This is a decent neighborhood, a nice place, and it was totally random," Healy said about Parikh's death. "I don't know how police could have prevented a crazy, vicious person with a handgun from carrying out this deed."

Donate to the Memorial Fund for the the Parikh family

In the aftermath of the horrific murder of Mr. Kirik Parikh at his deli on Coles Street, several community organizations have come together to establish a memorial fund to assist the Parikh family with funeral and other family expenses. For those who are interested, below are two options for donating.

1. Checks can be made out to the Parikh Memorial Fund (with acct # 381012275788 written in the memo line) and dropped off or mailed to:

Bank of America
186 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07302

2. Donations can also be submitted online via Paypal at with payment directed to (credit and debit cards accepted through Paypal).