The Hoboken City Council unanimously approved a $12 million Washington Street redesign plan at yesterday’s regularly scheduled meeting.
By Katherine Guest/Hudson County View
After no one from the public stepped forward to comment on the resolution, 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo wanted the city’s debt to be more than apparent – even though he supports the endeavor.
“I just want everybody to be aware that this brings up roughly $7 million worth of debt each year, over the last six years, if you consolidate all the bonding that we’ve done,” Russo began.
“This is a really good project and I’m going to support it wholeheartedly. However, I just want everybody to be aware of where we are as far as the city’s debt. We’re creeping up a little bit more and more every year,” Russo explained.
Business Administrator Quentin Wiest told Russo that the bonds would go towards intersection improvements, street resurfacing and other “fundamental” streetscape renovations.
One of the major elements of the redesign plan is replacing century old-water main lines on both sides of the street, Wiest also said.
The city also plans to add a fiber optic spine and electrical conduit to enhance the city’s micgrogrid project, which is all being funded by the state with a $7 million loan.
The topic was a far cry from when an amended version of the redesign plan passed in February, where over a dozen residents and/or business owners spoke out against the project and kept the council meeting going past midnight.
Just over a year ago, Mayor Dawn Zimmer met with U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez, Cory Booker (both D-NJ) and Us. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) to discuss the multi-million dollar redesign project, with the city originally hoping for $14 million in funding.
Grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program will help finance the improvements for the city’s historic street.