Paterson to explore handing over Westside and Eastside parks to Passaic County | Paterson Times

Paterson to explore handing over Westside and Eastside parks to Passaic County


Municipal officials want to explore the possibility of handing over Westside Park and Eastside Park, two of the largest parks in Paterson, over to the Passaic County government.

Both parks have been badly neglected by the municipal government over the past decades. Upgrades, better maintenance, and improved security will follow if the parks are added to the Passaic County Park System, argued councilman Al Abdelaziz on Wednesday night.

“Eastside Park and Westside Park are in complete disrepair,” said Abdelaziz. “DPW is located at Eastside Park and the grass is still three to six feet high.”

Eastside Park on Broadway is 66 acres and Westside Park on Totowa Avenue is nearly 27 acres, according to municipal records.

“It’s an opportunity for the county to reinvest inside the city,” said councilman Gilman Choudhury, who represents the 2nd Ward, where Westside Park is located. He favors exploring a potential agreement to add the two parks into the county system.

Passaic County may have to invest as much as $20 million into both parks to bring them up to standard. Both parks would have to be deeded over to the Passaic County government. Public works, which is headquartered out of Eastside Park, will likely have to vacate if the park is handed over to the county.

Abdelaziz said having the county take over the parks will mean the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office providing security at both sites. Both Westside Park and Eastside Park are plagued by people smoking marijuana and to a lesser extent shooting up heroin.

Resources presently expended on the two massive parks can be shifted to smaller neglected parks in Paterson, said Abdelaziz. Councilwoman Ruby Cotton said those resources can help to improve Wrigley Park and Barbour Park in the 4th Ward.

Councilwoman Lilisa Mimms, who lives in the 3rd Ward, where Eastside Park is located, said she favors exploring the possibility of including both parks in the county system. She would still like to hear residents’ opinion on handing over both parks, she said.

Some council members raised concerns about the proposal.

“I would not want to give away our crown jewels,” said councilwoman Maritza Davila.

“Eastside Park needs a shining,” replied Abdelaziz, pointing out the “crown jewels” have been neglected for decades.

Davila worried local sports team might have difficulty playing in the fields at the parks if ownership changes.

An agreement between Passaic County and Paterson would hammer out usage and permitting fees. Paterson will be able to exercise first right of refusal and have blocks of time set aside for usage.

Councilman Michael Jackson worried Paterson residents may not be treated fairly at the parks. He claimed the sheriff’s office does not hire many Paterson residents.

“It’s kind of a bailout for the administration and their failure to be able to maintain certain things that they really are responsible for,” added Jackson. “Now we want to pass the buck to the county.”

“We’re just exploring at the moment,” said mayor Andre Sayegh on Thursday morning. “I am open to the idea of continuing my conversation with the county.”

Sayegh said whether to deed over the park lands could be negotiated. He said he hasn’t had any discussions yet on transferring over the two parks, but will once the council approves the resolution authorizing him to “explore” a potential agreement.

Renovation of both parks will likely boost property values in the Hillcrest section and the Eastside neighborhood, said Passaic County freeholder Theodore “TJ” Best, who lives in Paterson.

Best said property values around county parks are much higher.

“In Woodland Park, after we made our improvements, the property values immediately increased,” said Best.

Best said same was true after the county renovated Goffle Brook Park in Hawthorne and Weasel Brook Park in Clifton.

“I think it’s a no-brainer,” said Best of transferring the parks to the county. “I would like for it to be a slam dunk, but you know, it’s very difficult to remove politics. And unfortunately, politics has a way of ruining even the greatest of ideas and best intentions.”

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  • DemocrapSocialistsSuck

    Bunch of hacks

    • http://www.facebook.com/animalabusewar Animal Abuse War

      Why do I feel this is just part of their secret socialism plan? You know, joining services, depts, etc into larger groups- until they are eventually all under one main leader, our new commie god.

  • http://www.facebook.com/animalabusewar Animal Abuse War

    So where did all the tax$ go all these decades that we were paying to maintain these parks?
    I want to know because I regularly go behind Kennedy high school with garbage bags and pick up tons of garbage. The entrance by Preakness/Front st is becoming a dumping ground.No do not give away our parks.Do your freaking jobs you are paid to do. If residents are doing a better job,fire the employees and hire us.A lot of so called leaders in this city must be fired because all they are leading,is tax payer $ right into their pockets.

    • DemocrapSocialistsSuck

      It goes into the pockets of the corrupt hacks and their cronies. Meanwhile the moron voters keep re-electing the same corrupt hacks back into office election after election. As Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over yet expecting a different result.

  • Resident41

    It’s the best thing they can do at the
    moment. The 3rd ward area is already turning to shit. And let’s face it. The city doesn’t have the resources to maintain those parks. Following in the footsteps of what other cities have done is a step in the right direction.

  • Ali Erikenoglu

    First if all, I live directly across Westside Park and take walks thru there every so often. It's not as dire as the article would have us believe.
    Nevertheless, it is in need of more attention and I agree with those who wonder where the budgeted money for the parks is going.
    Ultimately, I hope the city doesn't lose control of the two largest city parks Paterson has had for some two centuries…it would be an embarrassment.

  • clickbae

    The people who smoke in east side park are not bothering ANYONE. It’s the folk shooting heroin who are a bother. ALSO, yes it does need to be cleaned and maintained but that isn’t a big issue because the funding allocated to that are fine, they just need to get it out of these greedy city officials pockets and actually to work for the park. We aren’t lowering anyone’s property value that’s the old conservatives who are complaining who also don’t want ANY MINORITIES in the park EVER. Why can’t we get any basketball courts in east side park? Because the racist ass people who live near the Hillcrest section of Paterson don’t want any minorities (aka BLACK PEOPLE) there as it is. Think about how long it took for the exercise equipment to be updated? But they’ll build another damn baseball field or renovate the fields as often as they wish. They don’t even support soccer so you know it’s an issue of ethnics.