The Hoboken City Council approved a 20-year easement at Wednesday’s meeting that will allow the city to build a new 4th Ward Park where a derelict building currently sits near the intersection of 1st and Jackson Streets.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The agreement in place calls for the demolition of a building damaged by fire in 2012 and gives the city a 20-year open space easement on two lots located across the street from that property, Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s office announced last week.
The agreement follows years of litigation with the property owner as well as a $67,000 tax lien, which was previously imposed against the property by the city when the owner failed to properly maintain the site.
Following the council’s approval of the measure, the city administration is in the final stages of its due diligence prior to executing the agreement.
“These neglected properties have been a nuisance and drag on the neighborhood for too long,” Zimmer said in a statement.
“Through this agreement, we will finally clean up this eyesore and bring some green space to the area. I look forward to working with residents and hearing their ideas for how to develop this neighborhood park.”
Under the agreement, the City will obtain a 20-year easement and will pay to remediate the lot and build a park on the property, a percentage of which will be reimbursable to the city if the property owner disrupts the easement at any point in time before the end of the 20-year term.
After 20 years, control of the property will return to the owner. Upon full execution and recording of the easement agreement, the city intends to schedule a community meeting to solicit ideas for planning the park.
Furthermore, the agreement requires the property owner to demolish the structure at 605-615 1st Street, formerly Nardine’s Restaurant.
If the property owner does not demolish the remaining structure by April 2016, Hoboken will have the authority to go onto the property and demolish the structure themselves.
“For the last several years I have been advocating on behalf of our neighborhood for a solution to the quality of life issue regarding the properties at 1st Street and Jackson Street,” 4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti said in the same statement.
“I’m thankful to Mayor Zimmer and my Council colleagues for working with me in finding an amicable resolution which adds much needed open space in our neighborhood.”
Occhipinti is seeking re-election on November 3, facing opposition from ex-Assembylman and city councilman Ruben Ramos, as well as Hoboken Housing Authority Chair Dana Wefer, and he has cited park improvements as one of his long-term goals he’d like to see through.