Manhattan’s High Line has been such a success that now New Jersey is hankering to have their own elevated park. The proposed site of the green space would be at the Harsimus Stem Embankment, an abandoned elevated stone structure that has been caught in legal battles for the past 13 years. The line runs for half a mile along 6th St. in downtown Jersey City and once carried seven tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad to the Hudson River Waterfront. Community members and nonprofit groups are hoping to convert the controversial spot to a public area with skyline views.
A recent settlement from the City Council of NJ may move progress of the new park forward. Thus far, it has been held up by the question of who has the right to develop the property—the city, a private developer or the railroad company, Conrail. Under the new terms the city would pay $7 million to build a park and mass transit corridor with five blocks.
The Embankment Preservation Coalition has been working to preserve this historic space and develop the top into open park space and integrate the site into a network of local and regional pedestrian and biking trails. Each block of the site is already overgrown with plants and vegetation since the trains ceased running in the 1990s.
The Embankment is listed on the State Register of Historic Places and recently placed 7th out of 100 competing sites in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “This Place Matters” Community Challenge.
The success of the High Line just across the Hudson also serves as a shining example of the possibilities for Jersey. This rail-to-trail park has drawn more than 7 million visitors since it opened in 2009.
Photos © The Embankment Preservation Coalition and RomanP.com