Marcy DePina: Newark exists because of the river. It developed, over time, because of
the commerce and the industry that was taking place along the river. [Music] Scott Dvorak: At the turn of the 1900s Newark
was a center for jewelry-making. So this site had the legacy remnants of that. So in our
investigation we discovered, to no surprise, you know, the remnants of a smelting works
plant. And it was one of the many reasons why it remained a Brownfield and why people
didn’t have access to the site. Ana Baptista: When I was growing up we had
very few places to play, very few parks. So, the only times I saw the river when I was
going over the bridge, in a car, from a distance. We were completely cut off, because of all
the buildings, and you know, it was very overgrown, so you couldn’t even really see it. So,
many kids probably didn’t even know it was there.
[Traffic] Marcy DePina: The Ironbound neighborhood here
in Newark, New Jersey has been, traditionally, a little bit separated from the rest of the city of
Newark. [Train] It’s called Ironbound because it’s literally bound by iron. Ana Baptista: And there were several studies
that showed we were very low, in terms of the percentage of green space and park space
that we had, relative to the rest of the city, relative to the rest of the state, and even
nationally. The Ironbound in Newark has always been considered sort of an environmental justice
community, because this is an area that has a huge concentration of different sources
of pollution, and a largely low income, largely community of color. Which is why we committed
so much of our time and our resources in the Ironbound to thinking about, you know, where
are the opportunities that we have to create an oasis of plentiful green space. Scott Dvorak: And so we knew that in developing
the park we were not only creating an attractive, desirable place for people to congregate,
but we were also going to be addressing one of the issues of the site and that was the
environmental condition of the site. Marcy DePina: This has really become a destination.
It’s, you know, meet me by the park, let’s skate by the park, let’s listen to music in
the park. [Music] Marcy DePina: This park really gets a lot
of use, which to me just proves that it was meant to be built here. The people in this
neighborhood, in particular, love being outside. They love walking around. They love being
able to, you know, hang out with their friends and fly kites, and things like that. So, this
park really is a meeting place. Scott Dvorak: The fact that we were able to
remediate a Brownfield site and that we were able to bring people access to a river that
they hadn’t had access to for generations, the fact that we incorporated the community’s
design ideas in the design of the site. I mean, those are all things that are really
I think unique to this project and really stand out in what you see, what was ultimately
developed. [Ana Baptista: It’s so nice.]
Ana Baptista: My daughters are going to grow up having a relationship to the water, and
to the river that I never had. With one, relatively small park, you can change an entire trajectory
of how people relate to their environment, and relate to the water. [Music]