There’s plenty of space for families to relax and keep the kids busy with floor fountains to cool off, a slide that scales a hill in the park, ping pong and chess tables. Mayor Ras Baraka says Mulberry Commons represents a new era in Newark.
“The impact that it’s going to have is going to last generations,” he said. “Because what you see is a park, but what you don’t see is all of the development that will take place because of this park. Because of those land swaths, you don’t see the residential, commercial, restaurants, retail, and all of the activity that’s going to take place down here.”
New Jersey Devils President Hugh Weber was there for the Mulberry Commons ribbon cutting ceremony. A $10 million, 22-acre open space that was fifteen years in the making.
“This park represents way more than a swath of land between Prudential Center and the train station where 2 million people might visit for an event. This represents a catalyst for a neighborhood to develop and grow from the seeds that are being created today,” Weber said.
The park was initially proposed to be built in phases. Now that the park is open to the public, Baraka says phase two is set to begin construction, a walking bridge that connects Mulberry Commons to Newark Penn Station and the Ironbound.
“It gives people access to the train station, access to Prudential arena, access to New Jersey Performing Arts Center, access to City Hall and Lincoln Park, and it allows us to bring people from the south ward, west ward, parts of the central ward, parts of the north ward down to a park we are going to consider a convening,” he said.
Baraka expects the park to create interest in future investment in Newark.