A VIEW FROM THE UPPER LEVEL, 1910
THE SAND COURT AND SHELTER, 1907
West Side Park is located on 31.36 acres of land in the Central Ward of the City of Newark between South 17th & South 13th Streets. It is the ninth largest park in the county system. This location was a natural for a park in the center of the city and it has been heavily used from its inception to today.
The land was acquired as a "neighborhood park" by the original Park Commission in 1895. It was one of the first five parks that established the new park system. The nucleus of this purchase included some of the highest land in Newark. The Olmsted Brothers were commissioned to design the park. Originally, West Side Park was developed on top of a hill overlooking a lake. The lake was later filled with soil to create flatland for play activities. This divided the park into two distinct parts: 1) the eastern half which is flat with few trees and, 2) the western half which is surrounded by statuesque linden trees. Steep slopes joining the two parts were once used for skiing.
In the early 1970's the need for recreation in the inner city established the rehabilitation of West Side Park as a high priority for the County. By 1987 a major rehabilitation of the park was completed for a total cost of $2,800,000 dollars. This included a large community center complete with gymnasium.
Over the past century the overall character of West Side Park has changed more than any other park in the system, and today the park would be virtually unrecognizable to its creators. Back in its hayday it was the showcase of the Park System, when the lake provided local kids with wading in the summertime and the arboretum was second to none in the city. Terrace gardens in the southwest corner were an architectural highlight, and the stately mall reflected the influence of formal European park design. The stone wall terraces have since been removed and replaced with a bandshell, the current orientation of the park being exclusively towards active recreation.
• Community Center Roof Repair
Cost: $149,330 Completed in 2004
• General Improvements included the construction of new basketball and tennis courts, fencing, lighting, bollards, renovate bathrooms, drainage & erosion control, stairway refurbishment
Cost: $1,125,834 Completed in 2004
• Community Center Heating and Plumbing upgrades
Cost: $168,000 Completed in 2005
• Revitalization of Center Oval area
Cost: $1,532,400 Status: Completed in 2006
• Modernization of Community Center gym with new floor, lighting and basketball equipment
Cost: $257,500 Status: Completed in 2006
• Construction of new football field with synthetic grass surface and rubberized running track
Cost: $2,278,531 Status: Completed in 2006
• Installation of synthetic grass baseball field, modernization of locker room building and general upgrades
Cost: $2,353,721 Status: Completed in 2007
• Construction of “Nature in the City” themed playground with water spray area, rubberized safety surface and children’s art wall
Cost: $662,474 Status: Completed in 2009
- Basketball, handball, volleyball, and multi-purpose courts.
- Baseball and football fields.
- Eight tennis courts.
- 400-meter running track.
- A new playground completed in 2003.
- A large community center building, administered by a non-profit corporation.
- Famous singers Diane Warwick, Whitney Huston, and others have performed in this park.
- Used for various school athletic program
From New Jersey: Take Route 280 to Garden State Parkway South. Take Exit 144/South Orange Avenue. Turn right onto Myrtle Avenue. Turn right onto 14 th Avenue. Turn right onto South 17 th Street. Park is on the left.
From New York: From New York: George Washington Bridge to Garden State Parkway. Follow above directions. OR Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey Turnpike South. Take Exit 15W for Route 280 West. Follow above directions.
Use the intersection of “South 17 th Street and 16 th Avenue” when obtaining driving directions from the Internet.