Mayor Dawn Zimmer, other Hoboken officials, as well as officials from the NJ Environmental Infrastructure (NJEIT), were joined by residents for the ground breaking of the first phase of the Southwest Resiliency Park, a one-acre green infrastructure resiliency park on Jackson Street and Observer Highway.
“This was a team effort, we are standing here today, we are together going to be transforming this parking lot into the first phase of the Southwest Park,” explained the mayor.
“This is going to become a green space, a green plaza with kid friendly amenities, and dog friendly amenities. And an amphitheater for community to come together for performances and pop up market spaces.”
The park will also feature café tables, interactive park features, restrooms and free WiFi.
The green infrastructure includes “rain gardens, shade tree pits, porous pavers, a cistern for rainwater harvesting and reuse” and there will also be a detention system to reduce stormwater and localized flooding.
In area where there is not a lot of green space, David Zimmer, the executive director of the NJEIT Trust, referred to the park as a “very valuable community asset.”
David Zimmer (no relation to the Hoboken mayor) also highlighted another environment benefit.
“In additional, all of this covered area and the historic landfill underneath it, are going to be removed. Over 6,000 cubic feet. That can be pretty harsh stuff and all of that is going to be gone. It will no longer be part of your community.”
The NJEIT director also pointed out that the technology for the green infrastructures isn’t new but the way it is designed should really earn the project a few “environmental design awards because it really is a model in an urban area of how to do this and how to do things correctly.”
The NJEIT and state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are collectively providing $5 million for the park.
The majority of the funds go in at zero percent and some have principal forgiveness loans, which collectively saved the city between $2 to $2.5 million and Hudson County also provided a $3 million grant for the acquisition of the land, officials said.
“I’m really proud to have been part of the ground swell of advocacy for park space and doing something to alleviate the flooding in our neighborhood in Hoboken,” shared Mayor Zimmer.
Also in attendance were Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5), 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, Councilmen-at-Large Ravi Bhalla, James Doyle and David Mello and former 4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti – among many more.