In response to a Hoboken resident speaking out about the recent murder of 18-year-old Adrian Rivera, Councilmen Ruben Ramos and David Mello touted the ongoing improvements at the housing authority.
“I’m here today to talk about the growing divide between the city and the Hoboken Housing Authority. As you all know, last week was the fourth shooting in the 4th Ward since September and the second this month,” HHA resident Nick Lenzi said during the public portion of last night’s council meeting.
“I planned on being here at the last meeting but I wasn’t able to make it. Now, I deeply regret not speaking up sooner because now there’s [been] a fourth shooting, and this time, a fatality.”
According to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Rivera was fatally shot at 300 Marshall Dr. on the afternoon of Tuesday, January 24 by two men from Jersey City: Khalif Geiger, 20, and a 17-year-old minor.
Virtually no details surrounding the circumstances of his death have been released yet and the murder remains under investigation.
“I’m concerned that three of the four shooting have occurred within 100 yards of a now shut down police precinct. Last Tuesday, while I was at work, I was alarmed to hear what sounded like 15 police cars racing by our office – we had no idea what was going on,” Lenzi continued.
He further stated that given the city’s “incredible communication capability,” residents should be notified when an active shooter is on the loose, also questioning why no media associated with the city ever provided updates on the situation.
Lenzi concluded by stating he feels that the housing authority is being “neglected” and that he’d like to help be part of a positive change in the neighborhood.
Ramos, a lifelong resident of the 4th Ward, heard the message loud and clear and wanted residents to know that the recent murder and drug activity at the HHA has led to important discussions among city officials.
“Lots has been done at the housing authority, but not enough. And you can never do enough to try and alleviate an issue that’s been going on for far too long, and every time we do make strides, there have been setbacks,” explained Ramos.
The former Assemblyman added that the council recently had “a great dialogue” revolving around drug activity at the housing authority and other parts of the city. He concluded by inviting everyone to a public meeting at 221 Jackson St. at 7 p.m. on Monday.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer, County Prosecutor Esther Suarez, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christine Johnson, as well as members of the council and housing authority board are all expected to be in attendance to address resident’s concerns.
Mello, who is also a commissioner on the HHA board, praised the efforts of Executive Director Marc Recko and said he anticipates many improvements coming to the housing authority in the near future.
“Things that are gonna be coming in front of the board of commissioners at the housing authority: plans for extremely secure doors, more cameras, an employee at the housing authority that will monitor what does violations [sic],” stated Mello.
Mello also expressed great satisfaction in everyone working together to get the necessary funding for the aforementioned amenities.
“If anything positive has come out of this incredibly tragic event, it’s that people have gotten in the same room and received nothing but positive feedback [from] this city: every entity that can possibly provide money or help to acquire money for those improvements.”