Menendez announces $14M in FEMA grants for Hoboken’s Northwest Resiliency Park

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U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) made an appearance in Hoboken this morning to announce $14 million in federal funding for the Northwest Resiliency Park.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be here today announcing a total of $14 million in federal grants from FEMA: the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to help build the Northwest Resiliency Park,” Menendez said at a presser at the construction site, 1200 Madison St., this morning.

“This is an ambitious, innovative project that will improve the lives of Hoboken families, children, and seniors by better protecting this community from flooding that is occurring more and more frequently.”

Officials said today that the project, part of the federally funded $230 million Rebuild by Design endeavor, has an estimated contractor price tag of $48.5 million and is expected to open in the spring of 2022.

Upon completion, the  five-acre park will become the largest known resiliency park in the country, with above ground green infrastructure and an underground water detention system that together can withhold nearly two million gallons of rainwater and runoff.

Furthermore, it will reduce the number of combined sewer overflow events in Northwest Hoboken by more than 90 percent, from four a month to four a year.

Additionally, Mayor Ravi Bhalla said at the podium that the technology built into the park will provide “game-changing flood mitigation to the region.”

” … Directly behind us is a cistern, that we just saw, that can withhold up to 50,000 gallons of rainwater and will be reused, as the senator said, to irrigate the park,” the mayor began.

“Behind that, a large, underground storage tank will have the capacity to withhold one million gallons of rainwater. Now, above ground, the park will also include green infrastructure including hundreds of trees and 19 rain gardens to store and withhold 750,000 gallons of rainwater.”

Specifically, $10 million in FEMA funds will go directly towards constructing the park, while another $4 FEMA grant will be allocated to the North Hudson Sewerage Authority to complete stormwater infrastructure upgrades adjacent to the park.

“[Hurricane] Sandy taught us that it’s a heck of a lot more expensive to rebuild in the aftermath of destructive storms than it is prevent costly floods in the first place,” Menendez added.

5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen, who sat in the front row during the presser, expressed excitement that Hoboken was selected to receive FEMA grants for this project.

“This is a great day for the 5th Ward and all of Hoboken. These FEMA grants address work associated for our transformative Northwest Resiliency Park without further burdening Hoboken’s taxpayers,” Cohen stated.

“These FEMA grants are extremely competitive and sought out by communities threatened by climate change throughout the country. I applaud Mayor Bhalla’s administration for securing these grants and thank our federal, state and county partners, without whom, this day would not be possible.”

While 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher was unable to attend, she also expressed her thanks to the senior senator in a statement sent this evening.

“This is incredible news for Hoboken. Including acquisition and finance costs, the price of this park is over $90 million so this grant goes a long way to easing the financial impact of this important project. I’m thankful for Senator Menendez’s advocacy.”

The majority of the presser streamed live on our Facebook page and can be viewed below:

Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher and 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen.