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OLD BERGEN CEMETERY PROJECT RECIEVES HUDSON COUNTY OPEN SPACE GRANT
October 1, 2018 - April 1, 2019
We are excited to share the good news that Old Bergen Church has been selected as one of this year’s recipients of the Hudson County Open Space Trust Grant. The grant is given to promote public spaces for recreational and historic preservation purposes. Old Bergen Church will use this $100,000 grant award to carry out needed landscape work such as the establishment of safe walking paths, removal of intrusive trees and shrubs, establishing an ADA accessible entrance, and the restoration of some of the damaged headstones. There are also plans to create an outdoor prayer labyrinth as a central feature of the nearly two acres of green space. We will begin work in October and plan to complete this first phase in 2019. The church is eligible to apply for additional grant money next year.
Old Bergen Church was first chartered as the Bergen Dutch Reformed Church in 1660 by some of the first Dutch immigrants to what was then known as Bergen Village. By 1680 a burial ground was established outside the stockade fence of the village. This same space is now part of the Old Bergen Church Cemetery located on Bergen Avenue across from the present church building. Many founding families have their final resting place in this historic site. As you walk among the headstones, you notice familiar names such as Van Winkle, Van Waggonen, Sip, Merseles, Newkirk, Van Vorst, Van Reypen and more. The cemetery is a virtual history lesson of the early days of Jersey City. It bears witness to an important sense of story and place in this rapidly growing community.
Keep your eye on the cemetery as we preserve its history and open it to the community as a public memorial park. This is just one more way that Old Bergen Church seeks to “Make a Space for Grace” in the heart of Jersey City.