In the summer of 2002, Jersey City Heights resident, Eileen Green, held an informal get together at her home with her neighbors and friends. Her objective was to organize a community group that would work together to beautify Pershing Field. The idea was met with great enthusiasm and Pershing Field Garden Friends (PFGF) was born. We were formally incorporated in March 2003 with Eileen serving as President, Laura Skolar as Vice President and Blake Hudson as Secretary. We held our first community planting that June.
In 2004 we became one of the founding members of the Jersey City Parks Coalition. In conjunction with the Coalition, we created a master plan for Pershing Field in 2006. This method of developing a park master plan is called the community empowerment approach because it maximizes the creative input and collective wisdom of all residents in arriving at the vision of how a community park should ultimately look and function. Our master plan was adopted and made part of the city wide parks master plan in 2008.
In cooperation with the City of Jersey City and the Jersey City Parks Coalition, PFGF has made improvements to the “passive” area of the park. Through fundraising, donations and volunteerism, PFGF has designed planting areas, purchased, and planted shrubs, perennials and annuals in the planting spaces of the park for over the past ten years. Our annual plantings are held every spring and involve volunteers from throughout Jersey City, including our public school children.
Through our corporate partnering and grants through the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund, PFGF in cooperation with the City of Jersey City and the Jersey City Parks Coalition, has raised over $80,000 for the beautification of Pershing Field & the preservation of its historic monuments. In 2008, we restored the America Triumphant statue to its original state and once again enshrined the names of those Hudson City residents who gave their lives in the cause of their country. At the base of the statue a beautiful & vibrantly colored mosaic was designed and installed by local artist Christine Moss. New red benches were installed to compliment the beautiful mosaic. A rededication of the newly restored monument was held on Veterans Day 2008. The Historic 4th Regiment Arch was restored in 2011 and new flowerbeds now surround its base.
Pershing Field Garden Friends continues to flourish and strengthen its mission by building alliances with other like-minded neighborhood organizations.