SWA Wins Commission to Design New Urban Park in the Heart of Jersey City, NJ




SWA Wins Commission to Design New Urban Park in the Heart of Jersey City, NJ

The three-acre park represents an ambitious plan to preserve open space in one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S.


Photo credit: SWA Group


NEW YORK (March 15, 2023) SWA Group has won the commission to design Courthouse Park, a centerpiece public space in the rapidly expanding Journal Square neighborhood of Jersey City, NJ. The prime three-acre site, located at 567 Pavonia Avenue, has been identified as a priority project by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, and is considered a key ingredient in the continuing renaissance of Journal Square. The result of a five-year negotiation process between Hudson County, Jersey City, the Friends of Courthouse Park, and other neighborhood stakeholders, Courthouse Park will be the first large public park to be built in Journal Square in decades. 


The goal of the Courthouse Park project is to improve access to public open space in an area that has experienced a boom in private development yet has the least public space per capita in the State. SWA and the City of Jersey City have embarked on an active community and stakeholder engagement process that will continue in the coming months. The community-driven design process will ensure that the new public space is responsive to diverse stakeholder needs while acting as a catalyst for future growth in Journal Square.


“We are deeply honored to have been selected to create a new park to serve a growing and diverse population of downtown that has lacked well-functioning green space,” said Tom Balsley, SWA/Balsley Managing Principal. “We look forward to working closely with a wide range of constituents to add state-of-the-art open space to the fabric of this vibrant neighborhood.”


“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to implement new park infrastructure in one of the most densely populated cities in the country,” said Barkha Patel, Director of Jersey City’s Department of Infrastructure. “Through a community-centered process, we will be prioritizing the needs of the residents who live directly adjacent to the area and have not had easy access to a park for decades, while also advancing a world-class design that is in alignment with our citywide goals of sustainability, resilience, transportation equity, innovation, and smart growth.”


The project site, which is currently occupied by the aging Administrative Services Building of the Hudson County Justice Complex, will be demolished once the new Frank J. Guarini Justice Complex, designed by Rafael Viñoly, completes construction across the street. It is surrounded by a mix of uses, including the historic Beaux-Arts William J. Brennan Courthouse, commercial uses, existing and new residential buildings, and schools. Located one block away from the bustling Journal Square PATH station, the site enjoys robust mass transit access and connectivity to the larger region. 


The Courthouse Park visioning and master planning process is currently underway and is expected to be completed in Summer 2023. 


About SWA Group

SWA Group creates inspiring, provocative, resilient public spaces that enhance communities and enrich people’s lives.  The places we create reflect our deep commitment to design excellence, and our belief that landscape architecture plays an instrumental role in forging a culture that connects people with places…and with each other.  SWA’s projects range from large-scale master plans to small urban spaces; from urban waterfronts and major parks to institutional, residential, and corporate landscapes.  Learn more at https://www.swagroup.com/ and https://www.swabalsley.com/.  


Media Contacts: 

Michelle DiLello, Blue Medium, Inc.




Liz Batchelder, SWA