July 23, 2021


Derek Alan Sands

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Please click here to view groundbreaking media kit


New Riverside County Park boathouse will meet increased demand for public rowing and provide expanded access to the Passaic River

(HACKENSACK, NJ) – This morning, Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco, the Board of Commissioners, and the Bergen County Parks Department broke ground to mark the start of construction on the site of the future Bergen County Rowing Center in the southern section of Riverside County Park. This state-of-the-art two-story 14,285 sq. ft. multi-purpose rowing center will replace an existing one-story 2,600 sq. ft. structure used as a makeshift boat storage facility.

The construction of the boathouse will satisfy growing demand for public access to Bergen County waterfronts and rowing activities with more efficient and increased boat storage, as well as improved instructional and meeting spaces. It will provide access to rowing for both novice and advanced users, create opportunities for youth activities that promote teamwork, health, and bonding, and bring more opportunities for the public to enjoy Bergen County’s Riverside County Park and the Passaic River.

“Today we broke ground on an exciting project that will not only revolutionize the sport of rowing in Bergen County, but will also expand once-limited access to the Passaic River for the public’s recreational enjoyment,” said Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco. “The future Bergen County Rowing Center, which is a central piece in the overall revitalization of Riverside County Park, demonstrates my administration’s continued commitment to open space, environmental stewardship, and the enhancement of our Bergen County Parks System for future generations to enjoy.”

“The Bergen County Parks Master Plan identified key areas throughout the County in need of additional open space, such as Southern Bergen,” said Bergen County Commissioner Chairman Steve Tanelli. “Today’s groundbreaking is just another impactful investment aimed at bridging the gap and providing the residents of South Bergen with additional exercise and recreation opportunities. Through several phases, Riverside County Park will undergo an extensive revitalization featuring a new amphitheater, walking paths, outdoor fitness stations, comfort station, and state-of-the-art children’s playground.”

“This important natural resource restoration project is one of several being facilitated by the Department of Environmental Protection in underserved communities as part of the Murphy Administration’s commitment to furthering the promise of environmental justice,” said DEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette. “For far too long, the public has been unable to enjoy recreational activities along spans of the lower Passaic River. Through partnerships and grant opportunities, DEP can help offer the public exciting new recreational opportunities, including the chance to learn rowing skills and use those skills right here on the Passaic River.”


Bergen County has partnered with the non-profit organization Passaic River Rowing Association (PRRA) since 2003 to operate the Riverside Park facility and offer community rowing programs to the general public. Once the boathouse is complete, Bergen County will continue their partnership with PRRA to operate the facility and continue to provide community rowing, training, and environmental stewardship programs at the facility.

“We’re thrilled to see the vision for the Riverside County Park Rowing Center become reality,” said the Passaic River Rowing Association. “This project will not only enable PRRA to better serve our current members and school programs, it will allow us to provide more low- and no-cost opportunities for youth from the surrounding communities to be exposed to the life-changing sport of rowing. PRRA’s partnership with Bergen County is a prime example of the wonderful opportunities local communities can gain from successful public-private collaborations.”

The Passaic River Coalition said, “We are especially delighted with Bergen County’s environmentally sensitive improvements of the 48 acres of Riverside County Park South. In addition to the Boathouse project, we are excited about the County’s final improvements that are under design that will feature a 2.8-mile walking trail network, seating with river viewscapes, landscaping with native plantings and green infrastructure, a rowing center to encourage rowing and other watersports -- all these plans for this urban park on the river will undoubtedly culminate in a vibrant connectivity of community to the mighty Passaic, our most valuable natural resource.”

Clarke Caton Hintz Architects and Peterson Architects designed the project in 2019 and the Board of Commissioners awarded the construction contract to DMD Contracting on March 17, 2021. The $7 million project is funded by grants from the Bergen County Open Space Trust Fund as well as the NJDEP’s Green Acres Program and the Office of Natural Resource Restoration. Construction is expected to be completed in 2022.


Please click here to view the media kit from the groundbreaking ceremony. The kit includes photos and video from the ceremony as well as high-resolution renderings of the future Bergen County Rowing Center.

The Bergen County Parks Department is dedicated to providing recreation opportunities for all, preserving open space, enhancing environmental health, and protecting significant cultural and historic site for current and future generations.

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