Hoboken Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla has unveiled a new recreation program agenda as part of his mayoral campaign, which would include renovating the former YMCA building, creating a city-run pool and starting a city-run summer camp.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“As mayor, one of my top priorities will be to immediately engage residents in a community process to create a new, comprehensive recreation facilities plan. The recreation plan will examine the expansion and addition of multi-service facilities in Hoboken,” Bhalla said in a statement.
“This could include the locations of the current multi-service center on Grand Street, the parcel of land adjacent to the Northwest Park, and the location of the former Hoboken YMCA on Washington Street, among others.”
Bhalla’s says the current multi-service center, located at Grand Street between 2nd and 1st Streets, “is unable to meet the growing demand of recreational activities,” and therefore, hopes to build a new facility.
He notes that students from Stevens Institute of Technology recently completed a research project that provides a blueprint for a new multi-service center, which suggests building a six-story building “to cover the entire current footprint of the parcel”
Bhalla also calls for partnering with the YMCA board to renovate their currently inactive building at 13th and Washington Streets, as well as adding a multi-use building to Northwest Park – which would include a parking garage.
Specifically, he is looking to add a new teen center, a renovated meeting space for public meetings, expanding the library, adding a city-run pool, potentially building an ice-skating rink inside the multi-service center and starting a city-run summer camp.
“As someone with two young children, I understand the challenges of finding dependable and affordable summer camp options,” added Bhalla.
“With the creation of new multi-service space, I believe we have an opportunity for the City to host a summer camp that would be a more affordable option than many currently available for parents.”
He also said this long-sought after service is not currently available due to a lack of recreation space, but utilizing at least some of his additional facilities he envisions could “make this necessary investment a reality.”