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Goffle Brook Pond Restoration Process

Bridget Greiner

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After 10 years of planning and now action, the Goffle Brook Park Restoration and Beautification plan is scheduled to be completed by October, 2013.  However, many people in Hawthorne have been left wondering what’s really going on.

Since 2003, plans for restoring and stabilizing various aspects of the county park and the Goffle Brook Park Duck Pond have been discussed. However, it wasn’t until October of 2012 that all agreements were arranged and the physical process started under the supervision of the  project managment company Boswell McClave Engineering.

The main goals of the restoration, as reported in the Hawthorne Press, include preventing further erosion of the banks near the brook, improving the water quality, and returning it to the vision that the creators had 80 years ago, according to Jonathan Gerardo, whose firm is overseeing the project. To do this, the plan includes the planting of more trees, while adding stone toe banks and boulders along the pond and brook.

However, Dr. Dick Pardi, a professor at William Paterson University, told the Hawthorne Press that he believed the construction plan will not effectively improve water quality.  However, Gerardo says that planting vegetation alone cannot hold back erosion and that putting boulders in place would indeed be effective, and this it is a natural way to make the park healthier as a whole. Jonathan Pera, Passaic County Principal Engineer, continued to tell the Hawthorne Press that stabilizing vegetation and the pond as well as adding boulders would keep those residents in the surrounding area safer from falling trees, erosion, and other dangerous situations the park previously possessed. It will be hard to tell what most changes will effect until the project is completed and put to nature’s test.

A total of 155 trees, mostly Norway maples and sumacs that were dead and decaying, were taken down in the restoration process. Prior to this, many people were afraid of the trees falling over. Other trees in the park, like sugar maples, oaks, beech, ash, and various other types of trees will remain . To counteract the trees being taken down and to assist in the stabilization and beautification on the park, 415 more trees will be planted. Along with the trees, 500 shrubs and perennials will be planted.

The project seems to be going well, but in the beginning of the process there was a major lack of communication. According to the Hawthorne Press, many people living in the area were not notified that the changes were going to be made and complained. However, apologies from the companies were given to the residents.

The original 103-acre Goffle Brook area, designed by Frederick Olmsted Jr. and Pervical Gallagher, was built between 1929 and 1933, according to the Hawthorne Press. The same company, Olmstead Associates, also helped design Central Park in New York City. After being around for nearly 100 years, Goffle Brook Park was put on the National Record of Historical Places.

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Goffle Brook Pond Restoration Process