Riverfront Park is the only public green space in Newark along a waterfront. It displays sparkling amenities, including a baseball field, two playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, an open grassy area and a turf soccer field with a huge county logo in the center.
The concept for Essex County Riverfront Park hit the drawing board in the early 1990s when Essex County and the City of Newark partnered to create Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium for the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League. Essex County Riverbank Park, located a short distance away, originally was proposed as the site for the stadium and the 12.33 acres of land at the intersection of Raymond Boulevard and Brill Street would be developed as a “replacement” park. Although the stadium ultimately was constructed on Broad Street in Downtown Newark, the idea to create a new park did not disappear.
Approximately 20 years later, a unique coalition of the State, Essex County, Essex County Improvement Authority, City of Newark, Ironbound Community Corporation and residents was created and the initiative to create a new County park along the banks of the Passaic River gained momentum. Essex County and the Essex County Improvement Authority took the lead in organizing the condemnation of the six parcels of land that make up the 12.33-acre waterfront property. Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. lobbied Governor Chris Christie and Port Authority of NY/NJ Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni to provide $9.0 million in grant funding to purchase the land and Essex County acquired the property in April 2010. Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker and the Newark City Council supported the initiative by transferring to the County ownership of a section of the former Morris Canal that was included in the park.
Essex County Riverfront Park stretches from Brill Street to Oxford Street. It is bounded by Newark Housing Authority property on the east side, the Passaic River on the north side, Raymond Boulevard on the south side and a public area along the Passaic River owned by the City of Newark on the west side. With Essex County Riverbank Park, the city greenway and Essex County Riverfront Park all now linked together, a public greenway stretching nine city blocks long stretches from Van Buren Street to Brill Street.