The grand opening of the new Downtown Recreation Center and Library will take place in November, Mayor Nicholas Sacco, Commissioner Hugo Cabrera, and Library Executive Director Sai Rao have announced.
The new facility is located at 13th Street and Kennedy Boulevard. Sacco told the Hudson Reporter that this was a project that had been in the works for some time but had finally came to fruition.
“This is a commitment that we made years ago,” Sacco said. “This would have been probably finished two years ago. COVID slowed it down. We couldn’t get supplies. We couldn’t get people actually to get to work on the job.”
In November of 2021, officials said the project would be completed this year. There were delays on the project in the past due to COVID-19, supply chain issues, and inflation among other things.
The project would have been done sooner this year too, but more minor delays occurred. However, now the township is set to officially unveil the newly minted Downtown Recreation Center and Library.
“It’s now complete,” Sacco said. “The finishing touches are taking place right now. It’s really, really nice. We’ve done a walk through, made a little video about it.”
The new site will bring much-needed services to downtown residents, giving children a place to play sports. Simultaneously, this also marks an expansion of the North Bergen Free Public Library with a new facility featuring many more resources, events, and activities.
“It’s beautiful. It has a field on top, a running track, a big gym, a workout area on the outside of the building on the second floor, and then the library.
The new recreation center, which includes a full library space, also features an indoor basketball court and running track, outdoor fitness area, rooftop turf practice field and more. The over approximately $19.5 million facility was constructed by Joseph A. Natoli Construction Corp. and fills a need for a recreation space in the downtown area, as well as allowing for cultural programming and other offerings by the library.
“There’s a big area for our cultural programing,” Sacco said. “They can actually use the gym also. It’s really going to be a very functional building downtown. This is the fulfillment of a commitment we made.”
According to Sacco, this is one of the many commitments the township has followed through on in recent years. Others include park upgrades and other new development in the downtown area.
He continued: “We made a commitment to put a park on Paterson Plank Road. We fixed the 10th Street Park. We helped the development in the area with Hudson Mews and they have a major mall down there with Food Bazaar and Popeyes and all that there. This is one thing we were focusing on, because it’s hard for children in that area to come uptown all the time.
The public is invited to attend the ribbon cutting from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 5. There will be a tour of the new building, along with free food, music, carnival games, and ice cream trucks.
“We’ve been waiting for this, and the people in the area have been waiting for this,” Sacco said. “It’ll be open for residents to come and take a tour.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at [email protected].