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Brownfields Reuse Success Stories Essex Street Riverfront Park Site


Essex Street Riverfront Park
Rahway City, Union County

The 4.83 acre park is situated on the Rahway River and includes a walking trail equipped with exercise stations, a fish and wildlife area, and a butterfly garden. With a wetland area at the south end of the property, habitat conservation is an important consideration, and by utilizing the area as open space, the natural flow of the river will be re-established and past flooding issues will be mitigated. The City of Rahway is working with the Rahway River Association in enhancing the river and its ecosystem through this project.

Prior to construction, a 2003 site investigation revealed the presence of on-site contamination. The site’s historic fill was found to have several localized areas contaminated with remnants of petroleum products, which are a result of a leak from a former underground storage tank and previous site use. The site was littered with solid waste, automobile parts, old machinery, and containers of various chemicals utilized in auto repairs. Multiple methods were employed in the remediation of this site and .

However, the Essex Street Riverfront Park is just one of many new projects in Rahway. Designated a Transit Village, the city has committed to providing the infrastructure to get traffic off the road and promote alternate modes of transportation. An engineering study commissioned by the City of Rahway and the Rahway Redevelopment Agency has resulted in changes that have not only altered the flow of traffic, but have also incorporated ample room for biking and walking. Additionally, the newly renovated train station makes mass transportation more appealing than ever. The construction of Riverwalk Condominiums, across the street from the site, increases the proximity of residents to the park and is also nearby shops and restaurants.

Through the Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF), $440,000 in remediation costs was provided through a grant. The combined efforts of the City of Rahway, the Rahway Redevelopment Agency, and the NJDEP have resulted in the conversion of an unusable site into a community resource. As the development of the park is concurrent with other changes, it is not only an important component of city’s redevelopment plan but also helps to restore and promote the health of the Rahway River.

artist's depiction of the finsihed project

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