Vision for the Van Buskirk Island County Park
at the Hackensack Water Works in Oradell
Welcome to the design process for the Van Buskirk Island County Park. On November 19, 2009, Oradell and New Milford residents provided input and imaginative ideas for the park's use at a Design Charrette. These ideas are guiding the Van Buskirk Island County Park development team and the Rutgers Landscape Architecture design team in developing visions for the future park.
The international creative team invites you to stay involved as we continue our partnership with you to reshape the Hackensack Water Works.
Functioning as a collection, purification and delivery site for the water of the Hackensack River, the Water Works was the pivotal point of changing a natural resource into a much-needed commodity. The process of moving water from the natural environment, through the man-made water works system and finally as clean drinking water delivered through pipes to the community, is how the Hackensack Water Works altered the growing Bergen County.
The Hackensack Water Works, with its scenic historical landscapes and buildings, incorporates layers of cultural and industrial history. The park will provide visitors with educational experiences as well as passive and active recreation.
The visions that are being developed for the future Van Buskirk Island County Park are conceptual. The design team welcomes ideas and suggestions of what you like and what you don't like. For information, go to the following website: www.cues.rutgers.edu
Historic Preservation & Education
Re-use of the site's historic buildings will link visitors to its industrial architecture and water works engineering heritage, described once as "The history of the Industrial Revolution in one building..." Visitors will experience our industrial past through heritage education programs using the site's unique resources. The intact pumping engines show a 100-year timeline from steam to electrical power. The Filtration Plant is the oldest surviving example on a large scale of the milestone "American" method of mechanical filtration. The imposing red brick Romanesque Revival buildings are exceptional visual links to America's industrial heritage.
This river site is a rich bird habitat. The black crowned Night Heron is a frequent visitor. A bird blind will provide visitors to the river with a way to watch its avian visitors.
The historic buildings will be preserved and new sustainable uses will bring new life to them.
The complex network of pipes will be open at this spot, giving the visitors
a look at a small part of this huge, complicated water delivery system.
The restored canal starts visitors on the way-of-the-water, where gallons of water once began the journey from river to water faucet.
Combined efforts of Bergen County, the Hackensack Riverkeeper and the National Parks Service will open the trailhead of the Hackensack River Trail. This point will connect with other county parks and the Hackensack Meadowlands Conservation and Wildlife Area.
Workers' Housing Norman
Paths will guide visitors through the site of the former workers housing, recalling the lives of those who lived and worked at the plant.
Individuals and classes can experience and explore the history of the site, the science of water and the environment.
The column infrastructure of the former flocculation provides an opportunity for small garden rooms to be enjoyed by visitors seeking a sensory experience.
The canopy walk offers visitors a treetop path for walking, jogging and discovering the active animal community high above the forest floor.
The governing principal in the movement of water through the facility is a network of straight pipes connected by joints for redirection. The main pathway system that visitors will use to walk through the park will parallel this pipe network. The "joints" will be near viewing and resting.
To entice visitors to explore the park's more remote and wooded areas, a system of smaller, secondary paths will be available.
Responsibility to return clean water to the Hackensack River will be an important consideration in creating Van Buskirk Island County Park. To minimize and treat storm water runoff, a system of channels and rain gardens will clean water as it moves through the basin and gardens.
New tunnel access to the basin will provide a direct link for visitors.
From swings to giant slides, the playground at the van Buskirk Island County Park will be a fun place for children to play and for parents to relax. (Marker Number 4.)