Restoration of the Reservoir
Why is there construction at the Reservoir?
After 15 years of fighting for Jersey City Reservoir #3 to become a protected public green space, at long last the City of Jersey City received funding to support this project and began in 2020. Unfortunately, the initial Site Safety Improvements Plan put into motion by the City were detrimental to the historic and natural character of the Reservoir. Understandably we and a huge portion of the Jersey City community and beyond advocated strongly against this plan.
We presented alternatives, not all of which were accepted, but enough that we were able to come to a compromise with the City, who have since folded us into discussions as primary stakeholders and advisors. Following a groundbreaking, the Reservoir closed to the public in April 2021, which was addressed in our open letter here.
In an effort to encourage accountability, we will keep this page updated with major news regarding the restoration.
What are we doing about it?
The Site Safety Improvements Plan was originally slated to be completed in December 2021, but it has been delayed due to complications regarding much-needed structural repairs to the perimeter wall.
The excavation we were most concerned about did result in damage to the wall and removal of more trees than we had agreed upon. We addressed this immediately with the City and demanded repairs as well as a more extensive planting plan by SumCo Eco-Contracting. This puts the restoration of the habitat and preservation of the shaded hiking spaces on the upper perimeter back by at least a decade, and we are tirelessly advocating for this to be rectified as quickly as possible.
The fence and lampposts we successfully changed in design from the City’s original contemporary style choice, and though they stand out severely now, we expect to virtually disappear into the scenery once the plants have retaken their habitat.
As of now we are unsure when the site will be publicly accessible. The next phase of the project, restoration of the Screen House (southeast tower), is slated to start in September.
If you would like to be a part of advising this work as a volunteer or donor, please reach out to the Design & Infrastructure Committee through our contact form here.
Update October 2022
Barkha Patel is the City’s new Director of Infrastructure. Her and the new team met with the Reservoir Alliance to discuss plans moving forward.
The City is looking to complete plans for a bridge joining the two sides of the upper trail on Jefferson Avenue. The timeline as well as the final product (including whether a different option than a bridge will be used instead) are subject to change.
The next phase, restoration of the Screen House in the southeast corner, is anticipated to begin before 2023. The City is evaluating whether the public will be able to partially access the site in 2023 while this and other work continues.
Update July 2022
The Office of the Mayor has been saying that the space will open in 6 weeks. We have not been informed of anything regarding this and do not see it occurring as much of the work is still left to be done, and there are concerns regarding the grant policies as well as the LSRP regarding whether the site can realistically be opened before work is complete on the site at large.
A mix of native grass and flower seed has been planted.
All trees on the upper level have been tagged with blue/yellow tags. Blue are to keep. Yellow are to be left and phased out gradually for more appropriate trees. Red flags are invasive/harmful species for removal but the City has decided to leave the trees since so many were already cut down.
There is no confirmed planting plan yet.
This article from NJ.com was published regarding mistakes made and risks taken by the City of Jersey City working on this project: “Jersey City moves closer to reopening Reservoir 3, even if contaminants remain at site Link here to read article.