92% of survey respondents want 1 of 4 Hoboken municipal complex proposals, officials say


92 percent of survey respondents from last month indicated they want one of the four Hoboken municipal complex proposals, officials said today.

Screenshot via Zoom.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The latest public survey was available between April 6th and April 19th and had over 1,000 respondents, according to the mayor’s office, and 92 percent selected one of the four designs.

“The survey results speak for themselves. The Hoboken community recognizes how transformational the Hoboken Municipal Complex can be if it provides much-needed recreation facilities, a long-awaited community pool, and, importantly, a new home for our public safety department and public works garage,” Mayor Ravi Bhalla said in a statement.

“As our population continues to grow, we must invest in our future to provide for their needs and I look forward to continuing to work with the community on this vision for the Hoboken Municipal Complex.”

The fourth design, with a cost estimate of $192.5 million, incorporates amenities such as civic center, pool, recreation center, and field house, was selected by 41 percent of respondents, compared to 28 percent for the third design – which is the same design concept aside from the field house.

15 percent were content with the second concept, which has only the civic center and pool as amenities, and just nine percent selected the first design which has no amenities and has a tentative price tag of $152.5 million.

Additionally, 84 percent of respondents indicated they’d like to see a building with recreational amenities, while 52 percent said they wanted to see a pool included. Overall, just eight percent indicated they didn’t want any of the designs proposed.

“The city’s recreational facilities are close to maxed out with most basketball teams, baseball teams, soccer teams, and lacrosse teams only able to practice once a week, due to the high demand,” added Health and Human Services and Recreation Director Leo Pellegrini.

“This new facility will help meet the growing need and allow us to provide recreational activities for even more age groups, including our seniors.”

Initially billed as a public safety complex for the police and fire departments, along with the volunteer ambulance squad and office of emergency management, the concept has been expanded to include the Department of Public Works, the municipal court, council chambers, a library, community center, and much more.

“Mayor Bhalla’s Administration is committed to bringing a 21st-century municipal complex to the City that includes state of the art public safety components to greatly enhance the safety of all of our residents, visitors, and businesses, as well as provide the safest environment for our women and men of public safety to proficiently do their jobs,” noted Public Safety Director Ken Ferrante.

“Together, we need to join in giving Police Chief Steven Aguiar, Fire Chief Anton Peskens, and OEM Coordinator Sergeant William Montanez all of the tools necessary that best allows them to run their departments, instead of asking them and the brave men and women who protect this City, to do more with less.”

Additionally, Council President Mike Russo said that after three public meeting and two public forums, the administration, council, and public should feel comfortable moving forward soon.

The proposed site for the complex, the Poggi Press site at 1501 Adams St., remains an issue though.

Earlier this year, the council approved the ability to use eminent domain, as well as the first reading of a related $44 million bond ordinance, by the same narrow vote tally of 5-4.

However, the second reading of the bond requires six votes, and is expected to be removed from Wednesday’s agenda completely after being carried for the past two meetings.

This has prompted speculation that the city will work with the Hudson County Improvement Authority to fund the project.

Through a spokesman, the HCIA confirmed they met with Hoboken officials in March to discuss their financing programs, with no specific project discussed, with no subsequent meetings or communication since then.

Another virtual community meeting on the municipal complex will be held Thursday, May 12th at 6 p.m. and anyone wishing to register for the meeting can click here.

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  1. How much will this latest extravagance cause Hoboken taxes increase ?
    The simple question that the Bhalla Administration refuses to answer.

  2. So, 92% of 1000 respondents are in favor of this project as outlined — that comes to 920 people in a City of 60k. It is really unfortunate that this survey did not generate more public interest. Moving forward, I would suggest we behave a bit more cautiously than we did with the Cannabis and School projects/debacles. Let’s not be afraid to ask some of the tougher questions before committing resources; eg. how much will this raise taxes, what existing buildings will be sold off to fund this project, what will this do to traffic flow and sewage issues, how does this project align with the many others under consideration and how will the project impact businesses currently located in that area? Moving forward should mean considering all options and risks before committing resources; just because 920 people said they liked the idea does not mean the Council should view it as a done deal.
    I believe it was Santayana who said, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it…..” But, again, he did not live in Hudson County……

    • In the history of the world the words “I believe it was Santayana who said” have only ever been uttered by sanctimonious blowhards. That record is intact.

  3. This survey was written and floated by Mayor Bhalla’s staff to try to justify the rushed and faulty planning for the latest questionable construction project.

    The cost of which will further divide Hoboken’s residents between the very wealthy who will be forced to subsidize the entrenched poor who can not afford to live in Hoboken and push those in the middle out of the city.

    • Respectfully, all four options were in the survey, and the city promoted it a number of times via email and social media to try and encourage people to provide feedback. If they didn’t try to get public opinion, people would complain. And when the overwhelming results come in supporting an option some people don’t want, they also complain.

      Walter, you and I probably agree. I’m not in favor of an elaborate, overly expensive building. But we can’t accuse the administration for trying to keep the options a secret from residents.

      • With all do respect Mayor Bhalla or anyone one his administration has never given the residents any cost figures for any of the four plans. That is fundamentally dishonest.

        It is like restaurant giving you a menu with no prices and refusing to tell you the prices until you are handed the bill.

  4. This survey is part of an excellent PR strategy. It presents the project as a forgone conclusion. It is going to be built so would you like a playground or pool with that? The truth is that Hoboken doesn’t even own the land that they are discussing. Yet we do have the parking lot beside the current Police HQ, also the YMCA – thatwas supposed to be renovated to include a pool and the uptown branch of the library (both now thrown in the bloated municipal complex proposal). The city is trying to use smoke and mirrors to get this past the people of Hoboken…most of whom seem tragically unaware of what is going on. This administration needs to get the message that the people of Hoboken are not going to build any mega complex (school or otherwise) so that Ravi can pay back his friends.

    • Care to explain what the “Ravi can pay back his friends” is supposed to mean? That’s a pretty huge accusation to make, what legitimate info do you have to back it up. And by legit, I don’t mean the usual “Ravi’s corrupt!!” BS. State some facts.

  5. The survey was flawed in design and demonstrably developed by armatures as are many circulated in Hoboken by the current Bhalla admin and its cadre on the Council. Unless the survey provides the costs related to the features, most responders will select that which seems most attractive. The survey should have provided trade-offs in terms of cost (conjoint analysis) to get a true read. Plus, the response size probably wasn’t large enough to make stat sig findings in a city of 60K.