Hoboken finalizes $30M purchase of BASF property, site of new resiliency park

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Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer signed the closing documents to finalize the $30 million purchase of BASF’s 6.1-acre property, the site of the planned Northwest Resiliency Park.

A rendering showing where the Northwest Resiliency Park will be built in Hoboken. Photo courtesy of the City of Hoboken.
A rendering showing where the Northwest Resiliency Park will be built in Hoboken. Photo courtesy of the City of Hoboken.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Plans are already underway to create a temporary 4-acre “pop-up” park so that the community can start to enjoy the benefits of this historic acquisition by this summer, the city said in a news release yesterday.

“I am very excited to complete this land acquisition and be on our way to creating Hoboken’s largest park,” Mayor Dawn Zimmer said in a statement.

“This new land will provide an incredible recreational and leisure park opportunity for our community while making our City much more resilient against future storm events with the green infrastructure design.”

Zimmer also thanked the city council, the state Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as BASF, “for their strong support of this important project.”

The purchase of the park property is funded through a low-interest loan from the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Fund Program, which includes 19 percent principal forgiveness for the green infrastructure components.

Additionally, the debt for the loan is financed through Hoboken’s Open Space Trust Fund. A Hoboken Parking Utility (HPU) bond is financing the parking garage portion of the land acquisition.

The marks the end of a years long project, which finally began to pick up steam when the council approved a $16.7 million bond to acquire the six-acre BASF,  a large chemical manufacturing producer, property back in September 2015.

The planning process for the permanent 5.4 acre “resiliency park,” which will be the city’s largest park, will start in the new year.

The project will include at least 1 million gallons of underground storm water detention as well as a large new above-ground parking garage – the first municipal garage in western Hoboken.

The site has been remediated, capped, and deemed completely safe for the community’s use by a Licensed Site Remediation Professional.

“Acquiring BASF was a cornerstone of why I ran for office in 2007,” added 5th Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham, who supported the project from the start.

“I am so proud of and excited about this accomplishment to establish an amazing park and its amenities for Hoboken for decades to come.”

Furthermore, the public is invited to help develop and finalize plans for the temporary “pop-up” park, with potential amenities such as a multi-sport field, game center, play equipment, and more.

The January 19 meeting at the Jubilee Center, located at 601 Jackson St., will also provide an overall update on resiliency efforts across the City. The meeting is scheduled to run between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

On a parallel track, the City will be proceeding with the planning, engineering, financing, and permitting for the permanent Northwest Resiliency Park, including the stormwater detention infrastructure and parking garage.

The intent is to design a park with a mix of active and passive recreational space with green infrastructure and an underground detention system to hold at least 1 million gallons of stormwater to help prevent flash flooding, officials said.

The city is also partnering with North Hudson Sewerage Authority to separate the sewer system in the area around the park, build a new stormwater outfall, and construct a pump on-site to channel stormwater runoff from the new underground detention system to the Hudson River.