Hundreds of residents joined Hoboken officials at the Sinatra Place Park on Friday night to protest the possibility of New York Waterway taking over the Union Dry Dock property.
“I grew up in Hoboken and the waterfront was not like this at all. We couldn’t even walk here, we used to sneak up at Stevens campus because that was the best thing to a park for us,” recalled Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-33).
” … It just makes sense for us to have, as Mayor [Ravi] Bhalla had once said ‘the jewel crown of our waterfront:’ the waterfront that we have, we need this piece right here.”
Earlier this month, it appeared that NJ Transit was going to purchase Union Dry Dock and lease it to NY Waterway, but everyone ultimately went back to the negotiating table after the city council voted to rescind the ability to use eminent domain.
While most Hobokenites checked that as a win, time remains of the essence: as NY Waterway plans on leaving their Weehawken ferry docking station and refueling facility on June 1st and have made it clear Union Dry Dock is their preferred alternative.
“Unfortunately, even the privately run New York Waterway, nor New Jersey Transit, have developed a comprehensive plan for the coming years,” began Fund for a Better Waterfront Executive Director Ron Hine.
“As a result, the current crisis has erupted, pitting the citizens of Hoboken and our elected leaders against New York Waterway and the State of New Jersey.”
Speaking with Hudson County View, Bhalla noted that environmental concerns, particularly since “thousands” of children play in the area, as well as the potential for a transportation crisis make Union Dry Dock a bad location for NY Waterway.
When asked about what the alternatives are, the mayor said that both Hoboken and NJ Transit are working on that answer.
“New Jersey Transit is actively investigating alternate locations. The City of Hoboken has undertaken the process of hiring our own professionals, engineers, to find an alternate location. We are in discussions with New Jersey Transit and the governor’s office, cooperatively, to find out the best option for this facility.”
Bhalla suggested Bayonne, who will soon be seeking requests for proposals for a commuter ferry, South Amboy and Carteret as possible alternatives for New York Waterway.
A spokesman for NY Waterway declined to comment.