After more than five years of fundraising, planning and development, the Newark Riverfront Park is opening to the public Saturday, Aug. 3, bringing new life to the once-blighted waterfront.
Boasting a bright orange boardwalk, Newark’s first public boating dock, and a roosting nook for local birds, the Riverfront Park is designed to be a gathering place for Newark residents who have long wanted access to the water.
“For generations, people in Newark toiled on the river’s edge in the industries and the factories, and then for decades we were really disenfranchised from it, and now finally we get to reclaim it,” said Ana Baptista, a director at the Ironbound Community Corporation, a nonprofit community group that helped coordinate some of the effort to build the park.
For years, the waterfront was overgrown and undeveloped. In the 1990s, the Newark community used public demonstrations like vigils and candlelight walks to ask politicians for public space along the water, Baptista said.The total cost of the park is an estimated $9 million, from public and private funds.
Saturday’s opening ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m., with a march from Newark City Hall to the waterfront. The celebration will continue throughout the day with activities including a ribbon-cutting ceremony, face-painting, a drum circle, and performances from local dance and music groups. For a full list of events, click here.