Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance

The Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance was started in 2002 by a few concerned citizens. By reaching out to various civic organizations the list of members has grown to include thousands of volunteers and supporters. The Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance has been working to save the Reservoir’s lake, meadow, and woods from destruction and misuse for several years. For its work to document and preserve its historic structures the Alliance received the Ted Conrad “Preservationist of the Year” Award, May 2005. The Alliance watches over the Reservoir – conducting tours, running the school, boating and nature events, cleaning up, inventory, caretaking of wildlife, and working with the government.

Why Save The Reservoir
The Reservoir is a beautiful lake surrounded by trees and meadow-topped walls in the center of the Jersey City Heights. Since Jersey City discontinued use of Reservoir#2 for drinking water twenty years ago, nature has reclaimed the Reservoir area. Walking up the old stone steps today, one gets the opportunity to step out of our hectic world and into an oasis of quiet.Closed in with high stone walls, this “hidden jewel” is a stunning example of wildlife in this very urban area. Great blue heron, swallows, peregrine falcons, and numerous other birds find haven here, and the residents of Jersey City, from students to seniors, would reap incalculable benefit from keeping this natural oasis alive and protected. The Reservoir stands just south of Pershing Field Park in the Heights section of Jersey City. The 1874 Egyptian Revival walls and Romanesque pump-houses are of major historical significance to our City and region.Presently the Reservoir is only partially protected from development. The entire 13 acres of the Reservoir needs to be protected now before they are sold off as a short-term solution to a budget gap and built over with a parking garage, high-rise, school, or some other inappropriate use. Swaying wildflower meadows, thriving trees including oak, cherry, apple, and birch, and emerging wetlands that include healthy stands of broad-leaved cattails surround a large lake at this peaceful 14-acre site.

Goals Of the Alliance
The Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance mission is to:

  • Preserve the circa 1874 Egyptian Revival stone walls and three related structures of Reservoir #3. Establish the entire Reservoir # 3 site, (bounded by Central, Jefferson, Summit Avenues, and Pershing Field Park,) as a public historic and nature park, botanical sanctuary and wildlife habitat. Protect the lake, woods, meadows, and the entire Reservoir site from new building construction, or any use inconsistent with a passive recreation park
  • Work for recognition of the site by local, state, and federal agencies
  • Develop appropriate re-use of the existing structures as visitor and nature education center, meeting place and boathouse. Develop passive non-commercial recreation with trails, lookouts, and other spaces. Establish and promote educational and recreational events and programs including boating, fishing, art, senior events, gardening, cleanups, historic preservation, ecology programs, and wilderness programs.
  • Educate the public regarding the Reservoir’s historical, cultural, aesthetic and environmental merits through tours, events, and communication media
  • Secure public and private support for developing and maintaining the Reservoir as a historic site and open space resource for the public; After the Reservoir Park is established, act as a conservancy to monitor, protect, and enhance the site.