Community Workshop Huge Success!

Many thanks to everyone who attended the Summit Park Line workshop this past Thursday at the Summit First Aid Squad Building in Summit.

What an incredible turnout for the community! There was standing-room-only and a very engaged, supportive audience. Those in attendance included:

Council President David Naidu

Celgene Park Line representatives

Summit EMS

Overlook Hospital

A rail road historic preservationist

Union County Freeholders

Mayor Radest

Six Common Council members

Nationally recognized rails-to-trails engineer, Bob Thomas and his assistant

All spoke or offered presentations. Bob shared over 40 years of experience building trails in communities across the United States. He will work side-by-side throughout this entire process offering a wealth of information on treatments to the path, bridges and individual properties.

Noteworthy facts:

* The last park build in Summit was Memorial Field (85 years ago)

* Over 200 Summit residents have signed a petition of support of the project,

including dozens from East Summit

* Property values of homes along rail trails increase in value by as much as

10% and our community “walkscore” improves

* The approximate value of the land acquired for this path is $1.25M

* The project is 100% funded by donations and volunteers

* Maintenance will be the City's responsibility as with all other parks

* The City has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Summit Park Line

* This is the only "named" project in the City Master Plan

Want to see an overhead view?

View the Summit Park Line drone video

Please continue to get involved with this exciting project and show your support.

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Public Work Shop fur the Summit Park Line Dec. 6, 2018 7pm, 1000 Summit Ave

Please join us for a public owrk shop meeting sponsored by the City of Summit to get updates and take public input into the newest park in Summit in over 80 years. The venue is the Summit First Aid Squad building on 1000 Summit Ave. Tell your fellow park line supporters to attend.

https://www.facebook.com/SummitParkLineFoundation/

Overlook's Employee Wellness Group Takes a Walk!

Led by Alan Lieber, President of Overlook Medical Center, employees of Atlantic Health System enjoyed a brisk walk on the Summit Park Line on July 17th, a beautiful summer day. The walk was organized by the Employee Wellness group of Atlantic Health and the Park Line Foundation. The large group covered both the woodland trail and Phase 1 of the rail trail.

Future walks are being planned with the Overlook “Walks with Leaders” series - the proximity to Overlook Hospital affords employees and visitors to take a stroll at their pleasure.

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The Summit Common Council Approves Park Line MOU!

Great news! Tonight, September 4th, the Summit Common Council approved the ‘memorandum of understanding’ between the city and the Summit Parkline Foundation. Thanks to all of our supporters who spoke and Parkline Foundation board members in attendance, Frank Macioce, Jay Brinkerhoff, Elissa Cordrey and Jeff Hankinson.

For reference, the MOU is below in entirety:

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MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (FINAL DRAFT -7/3/18)

This MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (“MOU”), entered into by and between the City of Summit (“City”), having an address at 512 Springfield Avenue, Summit, New Jersey 07901, and the Summit Park Line Foundation (“Foundation”), having an address at 84 Prospect Hill Avenue, New Jersey 07901, agree to the following terms in relation to the development and maintenance of the Summit Park Line (collectively, the “Parties”).

1.                  The New Jersey Department of Transportation (“NJDOT”) owns a railroad right of way which runs from the edge of the downtown area of the City of Summit (“City”), in front of Overlook Medical Center, and along a 1.2 mile path into Briant Park.

2.                  This railroad right of way is part of the abandoned Raritan River Valley rail line.

3.                  The NJDOT entered into an agreement to grant the City and the County of Union a permanent license to construct, reconstruct, operate and maintain a linear pedestrian and bike path on the portion of the abandoned Raritan River Valley rail line that is within the City (the “Agreement”) and call such a linear park as the Summit Park Line, hereinafter, “Park Line”.  Pursuant to such Agreement, the City agreed to defend and indemnify the NJDOT for all damages to the Park Line property caused by the City’s contractors and consultants.

4.                  Unlike other natural areas or recreational fields in the City, portions of the Park Line would be a wholly new park in the City.

5.                  Pursuant to the Agreement, the City must obtain approval from the NJDOT prior to any construction of the Park Line. The City has confirmed with the Joint Insurance Fund that its existing insurance covers contractors. 

6.                  The City further agrees to defend, indemnify and hold harmless the Foundation, and its trustees, officers and agents for all actual or alleged damages to the Park Line Property caused by the City’s contractors or consultants should the Foundation become the subject of a suit or claim for damages caused by such contractors or consultants and from any other liability or threatened liability, damages, losses or expenses, including attorneys’ fees, arising out of its activities contemplated by this MOU, except for any actual liability, damages, losses or expenses, including attorneys’ fees determined by final, non-appealable judicial adjudication to have been a result of gross negligence or willful misconduct of the Foundation or its trustees, officers, or agents.

7.                  Any contract to develop and/or maintain the Park Line must be procured by the City in compliance with the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq.

8.                  Construction of the Park Line shall be in compliance with applicable local, State and Federal laws.

9.                  As set forth in a resolution adopted by the Common Council on March 10, 2015, the City may accept donations for development and maintenance of the Park Line pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:5-29.

10.              The Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to raise funds and distribute such raised funds to the City for the development of the Park Line.  The City will maintain the Park Line in accordance with section 12 of the Agreement.

11.              The City acknowledges that trails and rail trails are created largely through the efforts of volunteers.  In the case of the Park Line, these efforts have been organized by the Foundation, which also serves as a funding entity for its development.

12.              The Park Line is currently conceived in three (3) phases.

13.              The Park Line also currently envisions the placement of a pedestrian/bike bridge across Morris Avenue and Broad Street, which bridges shall be considered part of the Park Line for purposes of this MOU.

14.              Phase I of the Park Line is the area between Broad Street and Morris Avenue along property owned by Overlook Hospital in addition to several other private properties.

15.              Preliminary work on Phase I was completed in 2017, including the placement of asphalt to create a path.  There was also additional work on property owned by Overlook Hospital. 

16.              The Parties agree and acknowledge that the City’s responsibilities under this MOU are only for the Park Line, including the path to Upper Overlook Road on the property owned by Overlook Hospital,  and any work performed by the Foundation or Foundation partners, affiliates, supporters, or individuals affiliated with the Foundation (“Foundation Partners”) on property owned by third parties, other than Overlook, is the responsibility of the Foundation for which the City takes no liability or control and for which the Foundation has an independent obligation to negotiate terms and conditions on use and operation.

17.              Prior to the City’s development or construction of any further phases, the Summit Police Department and Summit Fire Department will each provide to the City and to the Foundation, no later than sixty (60) days of the execution of this MOU, a written report or safety plan, which would outline what, if any, each such public safety entity respectively, would require in any development or construction of the Park Line, the estimated costs of such requirements, and any foreseeable physical, legal or other impediments.  It is understood and agreed that the City may request any necessary modifications to ensure public safety.  The safety plans and reports will be made available to the public and discussed as set forth in Paragraph 22.  Based on such comments, the City may need to revise or modify the plans, which may have an impact on the type of development and/or construction of the Park Line.

18.                The City shall identify access points and address any parking needs for pedestrians and bicycle users of the Park Line to ensure safety and address community concerns.

19.                The Foundation may offer outreach materials to the community such as brochures, newsletters, posters, displays, etc., provided that such material shall not contain any language that would imply that it has been approved by the City.  All outreach materials containing any reference to the City must be approved by the City.  Any Park Line signage must have the prior written approval of the City and will carry the official logos of the City and the Foundation.  All written communications between (i) the Foundation, its trustees, officers and agents and (ii) City employees will be copied to the City Administrator.  

20.              To the extent the Foundation is engaged in raising support or interest at local festivals, community events, public presentations, meetings with third parties or other governmental entities regarding the Park Line, the Foundation must represent that it is an independent non-profit and that it cannot and does not speak on behalf the City. 

21.              Under no circumstances can the Foundation or its members represent that they are acting on behalf of or are an agent for the City, unless they are collectively or individually expressly authorized to do so.  The Foundation agrees to specifically instruct its members and Foundation Partners on this fact and agrees to periodically advise any new Foundation Partners to reinforce this agreement.

22.              Prior to proceeding with further development of the project, the Common Council will hold a public workshop as soon as practicable, but in any event within ninety (90) days of the execution of this MOU to gather public comments, including on the safety plans identified in Section 17 and preliminary budget identified in Section 24.  

23.              The City shall utilize the funds raised by the Foundation in furtherance of developing the Park Line at the City’s sole discretion, including, but not limited to, creating paths and pedestrian bridges, and installing trees, plants, lighting, access stairs, ramps, and fencing.

24.              The Foundation will assist the City in establishing a budget that identifies the estimated costs associated with constructing the Park Line.  A preliminary budget will be drafted no later than sixty (60) days of the execution of this MOU and such preliminary budget will be presented to City Council. 

25.              The City and the Foundation will make reasonable and good faith efforts to seek out and apply for grants to provide additional funds for the Park Line.  Foundation donations to the Summit Park Line Trust account established by Common Council shall be used as specified by the Foundation.

26.              The Foundation shall provide the City with all funds so that the City can retain any expert studies or engineering reports necessary to proceed with the project that cannot be prepared by City staff, including any engineering work necessary for pedestrian bridges.

27.              The Foundation shall provide the City with all funds so that the City can dispose of rails and other materials removed from the site, but it is understood and agreed that the cost of removing any contaminated soil, contaminated rail ties, or other contaminated material in compliance with all applicable laws, shall be the responsibility of the City.  Materials will be left on-site where practicable and not in violation of any applicable laws.

28.              This MOU and the rights and obligations of the parties hereunder shall be governed by, and construed and enforced in accordance with, the laws of the State of New Jersey.  The City and the Foundation hereby submit to the jurisdiction New Jersey State Court for purposes of all legal proceedings which may arise hereunder.

29.              This MOU shall not be amended, modified, or supplemented without the written agreement of the parties hereto at the time of such amendment, modification, or supplement.

30.              This MOU shall be binding upon and inure to the benefit of the parties hereto and their respective successors.

31.              Each party to this MOU shall enter the date it caused this MOU to be signed below its respective signature, and the last of such dates shall constitute the date of the execution hereof.

32.              Each party that executes this MOU has the legal authority to bind that party to this MOU.

33.              This MOU may be executed in one or more counterparts, each of which shall be deemed an original but all of which taken together shall constitute one instrument. A facsimile or electronic signature to this MOU shall have the same legal effect as an originally drawn signature for all purposes.

 

 

City of Summit

 

By: _________________________

Name:_______________________

Title:________________________

Date:________________________

Summit Park Line Foundation, Inc.

 

By: _________________________

Name:_______________________

Title:________________________

Date:________________________

 

Revealing The Rock Wall

Jeff Hankinson continues to tirelessly work to clear a tremendous amount of debris from the Park Line path, including removing a large limb to reveal the attractiveness of a rock wall. The view of the NY skyline from the top of the path is fantastic.

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Kudos to Jeff for all of his dedication and labor!

And thank you, City of Summit, for all of your hard work at 7 am this morning loading two trucks or debris!

Summit Park Line Project Receives $200K Matching Grant

PATCH, SUMMIT, NJ — A $200,000 matching grant from the Reeves Foundation was given to the Summit Park Line Foundation to support its project of creating a 1.2 mile linear pedestrian park on the abandoned Rahway Valley Railroad line.

The Park Line Foundation had to raise a minimum of$200,000 to receive the funding from the Reeves Foundation in order to receive the matching "challenge" grant.

Money was donated from the Summit Area Public Foundation, Overlook Foundation, Overlook Medical Center and through a number of generous Summit residents totaling more than $225,000 of the $3.2 million dollars needed to complete the project within a 12-month period.

The park was acquired from the state by Summit in early 2016 and will be accessible for pedestrian and bicyclists. Once completed, Park Line will extend from the edge of the downtown Summit at Overlook Medical Center, along a 1.2 mile path through eastern Summit, ending at Briant Park on the Springfield border.

Former Summit Councilman Dr. Robert Rubino came up with the concept of the Park Line project.

"There has been an outstanding expression of support for the Park Line concept from the Summit community," explains Rubino. "As the momentum for funding of the project continues to build, the Park Line Foundation is extremely thankful for the circle of friends that are helping to carry this important project forward."

For more information on the Park Line Foundation and the Summit Park Line project or to make a tax-deductible contribution visit summitparkline.org.

Philly's First Phase of an Elevated Rail Park Opens June 14

The greening of Philadelphia continues as the first phase of the Rail Park — Philly’s hotly anticipated elevated park and recreational pathway funded and built by Center City District — gets an official opening date just in time for the start of the summer season.

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On Thursday, June 14, a quarter-mile stretch of new urban greenspace opens to the public where the Reading Railroad once ran.

RAIL PARK PHASE I FAST FACTS

  • The first complete phase of the Rail Park opens on Thursday, June 14.
  • The section curves southeast from Broad and Noble streets to 11th and Callowhill streets.
  • Visitors can enjoy lush greenery, plentiful seating, public art and elevated city views.
  • Entry to the Rail Park is free, with entrances at Broad and Noble streets, 13th and Noble streets and Callowhill Street between 11th and 12th streets.

Phase I’s footprint stretches from Broad and Noble streets, jumps up to the Reading Viaduct overhead and ends above the 1100 block of Callowhill Street. When visitors traverse the first piece of the park, they can look forward to lush plants and trees, public art by local artists, plenty of seating and space for gathering, bench-style swings and first-rate elevated city views.

Phase I of the Rail Park project turns a quarter-mile stretch of abandoned train tracks into a spacious elevated park with plenty of trees, plants and places to relax.

Inspired by urban elevated parks like the High Line in New York and Promenade Plantée in Paris, three distinct sections make up the plans for the Rail Park: the Viaduct, a half-mile-long elevated iron pathway that’s twice the width of the High Line; the Cut, which spans 9 blocks and dips 30 feet below street level; and the Tunnel, a 3,000-foot-long industrial stone passageway made of vault and brick. Phase I makes up part of the Viaduct.

When the three sections come together, the resulting pedestrian-friendly pathway will connect 10 different Philadelphia neighborhoods to Fairmount Park and Center City and transform the site of two obsolete Reading Railroad lines into a vibrant public space.

The plan for the Rail Park sprouted from a neighborhood organization’s vision to build a public park in place of the abandoned Reading Viaduct. In 2010, that organization — now known as Friends of the Rail Park — partnered with Center City District to begin work on Phase I of the Rail Park.

Over the next eight years, Center City District commissioned an environmental and feasibility analysis, commissioned a concept and schematic design study (with the city’s Commerce Department and the Department of Parks & Recreation) and hosted neighborhood meetings and online surveys. Contributions from the William Penn Foundation and Poor Richard’s Charitable Trust also aided in the park’s creation.

Once complete, the entire park will connect 10 neighborhoods to Center City and Fairmount Park.

Grab some fresh air and see the promising beginnings of this elevated park starting June 14.

Eagle Scout Of Honor

Eagle Scout Henry Lord awarded his Eagle Badge for his Summit Park Line project at the Court of Honor on January 14th. Congratulations to Henry and his proud parents Al and Lucy Lord. Below is a picture of him receiving the badge from master of ceremonies Keith Halper and Henry in front of the Park Line diorama. We hope to see more Eagle Scout projects along the Summit Park Line.

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Resolution Passed By The Union County Freeholders

A resolution was passed by the Union County Freeholders to allow Union County to use the Rahway Valley Railroad right of way as a rail trail. 

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THE CITY OF SUMMIT N E W J E R S E Y CITY HALL 512 SPRINGFIELD AVENUE SUMMIT, NJ 07901

News R e l e a s e December 19, 2017 For immediate release Summit Mayor: Nora G. Radest (908) 273-6400 City Administrator: Michael F. Rogers (908) 522-3600 Media Contact: Amy Cairns (908) 277-9418 Union County Freeholders Passes Resolution Authorizing Rail Trail Use SUMMIT, N.J., December 19, 2017 –

The City of Summit is announcing that the Union County Freeholders, at its December 7 meeting, passed a resolution with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), allowing Union County to use the Rahway Valley Railroad (RVRR) right of way as a rail trail, amending a previous agreement from June 2000. When it was operating, the RVRR served Summit, Springfield, Union, Kenilworth, Roselle Park, and Maplewood. The Summit Park Line plan was introduced by the Summit Park Line Foundation, a 501(c) (3) organization, and approved by Summit Common Council. It was included in the city’s 2016 Master Plan ReVision by the Planning Board. The concept of the Park Line is to use a section of the RVRR abandoned rail line to create a public park in Summit. Phase one of the Park Line was completed in November 2017, and the long-term hope of the Summit Park Line Foundation is to connect downtown Summit to Briant Park and beyond to the East Coast Greenway, a rail trail that runs from Maine to Florida. Union County Freeholder Angel Estrada reports, “This is a great project for Summit and the county. I have been enthusiastic about it from the start.” Freeholder Alexander Mirabella says, “I am impressed with the progress that has been made since I visited the site two years ago. This is a great addition to Summit.” The Summit Park Line Foundation recently received a $35,000 grant from the Summit Area Public Foundation (SAPF). The funds will be used towards the expansion of the Park Line in sections of the abandoned rail line throughout Summit. Foundation President and Common Councilmember Dr. Robert Rubino, explains, “We are looking forward to continuing progress on the Park Line, and we are eager to be able to share it with the Summit community. Once complete, it will be the first public park in Summit in over 80 years.”

For more information on the Summit Park Line, please visit summitparkline.org.