There wasn’t one empty seat at the Steven’s Institute of Technology’s Babbio Center during Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s kickoff meeting for the $230 million Rebuild by Design project – the city’s flood preparedness program.
Residents, business owners, and others concerned about flooding from Hoboken and surrounding municipalities, such as Jersey City and Weehawken, attended to meet the members of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), Dewberry Engineering Inc., and architectural firms Office of Metropolitan Architecture and SCAPE Landscape.
The first to address the crowded room was Stevens Institute of Technology President Nariman Farvardin.
Next, Zimmer addressed the purpose of the kickoff of meeting and stressed the importance of community involvement.
“We need you to get involved,” Zimmer told the packed house o hand. “At the end of this process, we are going to have a more developed plan on how we are going to protect Weehawken, Jersey City and Hoboken.”
Dave Rosenblatt, the NJDEP’s Office of Engineering and Construction administrator, explained the core management team and flow of information.
Rosenblatt also explained why the timeline process for the $230 million project is just over three years.
The state hired Dewberry Engineering Inc., to handle the first phase of project which is the feasibility process for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Colonel John Boule explained how there will be over 300 employees from Dewberry who will be working on the project along with 8 additional consulting firms, which are:
1. Office of Metropolitan Architecture
2. SCAPE Landscape Architecture
3. Bowswell Engineering
4. Econsult Solutions
5. Fitzgerald & Halliday (F&H)
6. Paul Carpenter Associates (PCA)
7. Techniquest Corp.
8. Craig Geotechnical Drilling and Jersey Boring & Drilling
Laura Baird, from the Office of Metropolitan Architecture, and Kate Orff – from SCAPE Landscape – also spoke during the meeting.
Kenneth Spahn, of Dewberry, explained the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which is required by law in order get the federal funding for this effort.
Council President Ravi Bhalla spoke with Hudson County View on the length of time for the Rebuild By Design Hudson River project.
“It’s not like building a single development and there are multiple aspects to the entire project, there’s an engineering studying, there’s the environmental feasibility study and there are regulations that are mandated by the EPA and by the DEP that has to be filed in order to get the money to flow down to the local level.”
Bhalla also explained why he brought up his concern for community involvement during the Q & A portion of the meeting.
“This is our city and this our culture, so it’s incumbent for the professionals to listen to the citizens and understand our concerns.”