6 NJ Towns Near NYC Will Collaborate When It's Time To Open Parks

Caren Lissner

HOBOKEN, NJ — On Tuesday, a coalition of six mayors in northern Hudson County, the closest New Jersey county to midtown Manhattan, agreed that they will take a regional approach to a gradual re-opening of their municipal parks, when the time is right.

In fact, the statewide death toll climbed to 6,400 on Tuesday. The daily death rate reached an all-time high a week ago of more than 379 new deaths in one 24-hour period. After that, the number gradually decreased, until this past Tuesday, when 402 new deaths were announced from Monday.

The reopening would happen only "when all six municipalities jointly agree that it is safe to do so and the data justifies it," noted a press release.

The mayors are Mayor Ravi Bhalla of Hoboken, Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez of West New York, Mayor Nicholas Sacco of North Bergen, Mayor Brian Stack of Union City, Mayor Richard Turner of Weehawken, and Mayor Wayne Zitt of Guttenberg.

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As of Tuesday, more than 1 million Americans had tested positive for coronavirus, and more than 56,000 have died.

"The eventual re-opening of parks will occur incrementally and in unison among the mayors to protect the health and safety of residents and help prevent overcrowding in any one municipality’s parks," said the release.

It noted that Gov. Phil Murphy has left the decision of re-opening municipal parks to local municipalities. Murphy has offered his own reopening plan, dependent on health data and trends.

While local and state officials have recently come under pressure to reopen parks that have closed, they have said that opening too soon could cause a relapse of the coronavirus spread.

"As we consider an eventual re-opening of our municipal parks, we do so knowing that north Hudson County is perhaps the most densely populated region in the nation,” said the North Hudson mayors, in a release. “With this in mind, it is absolutely critical for us, as mayors, to work together to ensure that any reopening of parks is driven by science and data and protects the health and safety of our residents."

In Hoboken, Mayor Ravi Bhalla closed all city parks on March 30.

The six mayors agreed that all playgrounds would remain closed until further notice, and that playgrounds wouldn't open until the last stage of a park re-opening plan.

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This article originally appeared on the Hoboken Patch