In a letter to the editor, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer reveals that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has formally approved $230 million to go towards the Rebuild by Design project.
Early this week we learned that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued formal approval for the State of New Jersey to use $230 million in funds to complete the design and construction of the Hudson River Rebuild by Design (RBD) project.
This critical project will protect Hoboken and parts of Weehawken and Jersey City from rising sea levels and the impact of climate change.
This is a major milestone for the long-term resiliency of our City. Thanks to strong community support, Hoboken is now on track to work with the State of New Jersey, Weehawken, and Jersey City towards the final design of this project over approximately the next 18 months.
These federal funds are dedicated specifically for the Hudson River RBD project and are no longer at risk of being repurposed by the federal government for any reason. Completion of this project is now in the hands of the State of New Jersey and Hoboken, Weehawken, and Jersey City.
Going forward, it will be important to work closely with the community and the State to finalize the design so that it can be completed by the funding deadline of 2022, providing essential protection for residents, businesses, and critical facilities.
This Rebuild by Design competition that started in 2013 not only allowed design teams to develop innovative solutions that would otherwise have been ineligible for FEMA funding, but it also provided a framework so that all levels of government could work together in parallel towards a common goal, avoiding years of delays.
The Hudson River Rebuild by Design project is a comprehensive approach to flooding that also builds upon several City initiatives. This includes our three resiliency parks built with green infrastructure to reduce flooding from heavy rain.
The Northwest Resiliency Park is currently being designed to retain one million gallons of storm water. The 2-acre resiliency park at 7th and Jackson is currently under construction, and the recently-opened Southwest Resiliency Park is targeted for further expansion.
In addition, the City has implemented other projects and strategies that integrate with the RBD water management strategy.
This includes the construction of the second flood pump, built in partnership with North Hudson Sewerage Authority, the adoption of redevelopment plans requiring the use of green infrastructure in new development, and successfully incentivizing over 100,000 square feet of green roofs on existing buildings through our zoning code.
We are also making our energy system more resilient from flooding and other disruptions by working with PSE&G to combine and elevate our substations, installing permanent elevated backup generators at critical facilities, and moving forward with an electric microgrid to ensure the lights stay on even if the central grid goes down.
Thank you so much to the Hoboken community, including the Community Advisory Group, the dedicated City of Hoboken resiliency and sustainability team, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Community Affairs, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Weehawken Mayor Turner, Jersey City Mayor Fulop, Executive Director Richard Wolff and the North Hudson Sewerage Authority, and all the partners who worked to reach consensus and advance this vital project.
Thank you to Senator Menendez, Senator Booker, and Congressman Sires for your continued support of all of these resiliency projects.
This Sunday, as we recognize the 5-year anniversary of Sandy, we invite residents to stop by at the Hoboken Historical Museum from 2pm to 5pm to reflect and celebrate how far we have come since that devastating Superstorm Sandy struck our City five years ago.