13 environmental groups, the majority of which are based in either Jersey City or Hoboken, wrote a letter to Tammy Murphy – the wife of Gov. Phil Murphy (D) – in hopes of preserving Union Dry Dock.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
” … This stretch of the waterfront is the last piece of the puzzle and it is in danger of being turned over to a private ferry operator at a time when there are other options,” the June 4th letter, which wasn’t made public until yesterday, says.
“In 2009, NJ Transit conducted an exhaustive study entitled Ferry Berthing and Maintenance Facility — Alternate Site Analysis that took into account a number of factors to rank nine sites along New Jersey’s Hudson River coastline for a ferry home port. Five sites were judged more suitable than the Union Dry Dock property.”
The letter continues, as Hoboken officials said back in November, that an engineering study identified the Lackawanna Terminal as a superior location for New York Waterway over Union Dry Dock.
NY Waterway is currently in litigation with the city over halting them from moving forward with their plans to use Union Dry Dock as a ferry docking and refueling station.
The writers of the letter also state that using the Hoboken Terminal would save NJ Transit roughly $12 million that it would take to acquire the Union Dry Dock site and that “no dredging would be required unlike the shallow waters at Union Dry Dock.
Last month, Mayor Ravi Bhalla called for a new eminent domain process to acquire the property after reaching a standstill with NY Waterway and the governor, who is yet to weigh in on the project despite may public outcries to do so.
“A ferry maintenance facility at Union Dry Dock would forever extinguish the possibility of completing the proposed contiguous public park at Hoboken’s waterfront, diminishing the value of the tens of millions of federal, state and Port Authority funds spent to date,” the letter also says.
“It would destroy the recreation and wildlife that thrive at the Hoboken Cove, a destination for all of Hudson County, where thousands of kayakers and paddleboarders access the Hudson River each year. Fishermen use the public fishing pier just south of Union Dry Dock on a regular basis. The skateboard park, also abutting the dry dock, has been one of the few available in the region.”
The letter is signed by representatives from the Fund for a Better Waterfront, the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse, Resilience Paddle Sports, the NYNJ Baykeeper, NJ Sierra Club, Hudson County Sierra Club, the Friends of the Liberty State Park, the Hudson River Fisherman Association, Bike Hoboken, Ke Aloha Outrigger at Hoboken Cove, the Hoboken chapter of The Climate Mobilization, Sunrise Movement Jersey City and Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition.
Previously, state Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop had previously urged Phil Murphy to preserve Union Dry Dock late last year.
NY Waterway spokesman Pat Smith called the letter “staggering in its disregard for the truth,” noting that the Union Dry Dock site would require no dredging, evidenced by the fact that large boats and barges “have docked there for 135 years.”