Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla discussed parks, sustainability, redevelopment and much more during his 4th State of the City Address this evening.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
After praising the local breakfast spots Hoboken Hot Bagels and the Hive, as well as Hoboken High School’s 99 percent graduation rate and $17.4 million in academic scholarships, he talked about scheduling the first public meeting on Maritime Park.
“Make no mistake about it, this park will be designed by you, the residents of Hoboken. You will shape the amenities located at what we will be calling ‘Maritime Park,’ in honor of the industrial history of Hoboken’s waterfront. That is why I am pleased to invite all of you to our first public meeting to hear directly from you about what you want to see on OUR waterfront,” Bhalla said during the roughly half hour speech.
“I hope you can join me, members of my administration, and Dattner Architects at our first community meeting on April 4th at 6:30 p.m. at Hoboken High School. I encourage you to come and help us envision the future public space to unlock the waterfront’s potential.”
He added that this will also include a number of Vision Zero improvements such as “15 high-visibility crosswalks, 15 curb extensions, and 13 rapid flashing beacons.”
The city council approved a three-year lease, that comes with a possible two-year extension, with New York Waterway last month, with a monthly rent of $4,573 – which Bhalla defended by saying they were trying to build a waterfront park, not make money.
At that same meeting, the local governing body approved a $1.17 million contract was awarded to Manhattan-based Dattner Architects.
Additionally, he thanked Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration for allocating $100 million to the Rebuild by Design project last year, making it a $330 million flood resiliency effort.
“In the next six months, we will officially put shovels in the ground on the highlight of our $330 million Rebuild by Design flood resiliency initiative – an improved and expanded Harborside Park at Fifteenth and Garden Streets,” the mayor explained.
“Over the past year, our partners in Governor Murphy’s administration – who awarded us an additional $100 million for the construction of this park – have worked with my administration to replace over 4,000 linear feet of our sewer system along Hudson Street and other areas near our waterfront.”
He also pointed out that this park would include amenities along the lines of an amphitheater, playground, and dog park.
Furthermore, Bhalla said that “a living shoreline” will be installed at Weehawken Cove, part of the second phase of it’s restoration initiative after removing 14 boats last year, which also involves installing new lighting, upgrading the bulkhead, and resetting pavers.
To that end, he also reiterated plans to restore the walkway at the Monarch site and host the grand opening of the Northwest Resiliency Park, Southwest Resiliency Park, and the resiliency park at 800 Monroe.
A public information session on the latter will be held at Hoboken High School on April 13th at 6:30 p.m., the second community planning session for the site.
The Mile Square City’s chief elected official also expressed enthusiasm about projects at 930 Monroe, the Chambord and Neumann Leathers buildings, and the $176 million Hoboken Terminal redevelopment.
“Thanks to our partnership with the Murphy administration, as well as the City Council, we sat down at the table with all stakeholders and did not rest until this project – which was introduced in 2008 and languished for 15 years – was passed. And pass it did,” Bhalla said about Hoboken Terminal.
He also touched on the the Hoboken Housing Authority’s redevelopment project, indicating that a community meeting will be hosted at 221 Jackson St. on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
“Taken together, these redevelopment projects – with a focus on maximizing community givebacks such as open space funding and affordable housing, along with providing more required commercial and retail uses – will provide our residents with more locations to shop, dine, and play, with new, active commercial corridors that create more vibrant spaces.”
He concluded by noting that the city will install approximately five miles of water main upgrades before the end of the year, with another five miles to be replaced in the next decade.
“These planned improvements represent important progress in upgrading our water main system, and let’s face it – it is a stark contrast from years past. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that you, the residents of Hoboken, have the quality of life that you deserve, with the infrastructure that you deserve,” Bhalla said at the tail end of his remarks.
Afterwards, three of his allies on the council, Council President Emily Jabbour, Councilman-at-Large Joe Quintero, and 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen released statements applauding the direction the city is heading in.
“Overall, these are upgrades for our City that will be realized and utilized by my two children, and many more families for decades to come,” said Jabbour.