Murphy & Bob Menendez join Hoboken officials to cut the ribbon on ResilienCity Park


Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), joined Hoboken electeds to cut the ribbon on the five-acre ResilienCity Park, at 12th and Madison Streets – formerly Northwest Resiliency Park – amidst some protests over fossil fuel power plants.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

“This park is a model for communities across the country that are grappling to deal with the impacts of climate change. It provides the amenities all around us while integrating stormwater infrastructure,” Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla said.

“This park will contain up to 2 million gallons of rainwater. Thanks to the governor, the senator, and their teams, Hoboken was provided with invaluable state and federal funding that allowed this park to be created.”

ResilienCity Park has transformed a former industrial site into public open space that provides the public with a new multi-purpose athletic field, a basketball court that doubles as a stormwater detention basin, playground, open lawn space, water spray area, and other open space amenities.

The park’s terrace pavilion, which will include a café and community room, is currently under construction and it is scheduled to open this fall.

“This park is a powerful example of how we can and should be preparing for the future. It’s easy to fall in a trap with climate change by thinking it’s a long-term trend that’s decades away,” noted Murphy.

“But our climate is already changing. We are at ground zero. We saw that last week with the unprecedented levels of smoke and hazardous air from wildfires in Canada.”

The governor also cited findings from Rutgers University that indicated that New Jersey’s temperature is warming at double the rate of the rest of the planet, with sea levels also rising twice as fast as well.

“We are going to hit again. The only question is when. We are not powerless. We can prepare. There is literally no time, to waste,” Murphy added, noting that after Superstorm Sandy ravaged Hoboken, they built infrastructure to prevent such great flooding.

“With a challenge as large and complete as climate change, we have to tackle it from every angle, he continued, further stated that they want the whole state to run on clean energy by 2035.

However, this didn’t sit well with some of the protesters who have been asking Murphy to halt fossil fuel plants, such as a fracked gas plant in Newark, which the Hoboken City Council passed a resolution opposing all the way back in June 2020.

“Governor Murphy: stop the gas plants!” an angry activist shouted from the crowd.

“It’s a climate emergency!” another cried.

“Forgive me, some of my relatives showed up,” Murphy joked, indicating that his administration is working aggressively to address climate change.

He also said “this park is exactly the kind of smart design we need” as he talked over the protesters.

Hoboken police officers asked several of them to calm down and the several in the crowd also shushed them.

Additionally, Murphy noted former Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer initially reached out regarding the site since BASF, a German company, owned it.

He was the U.S. Ambassador to Germany under President Barack Obama (D) and Murphy explained that federal funding and the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank helped fund the project.

Low-interest financing through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund also helped.

“Stop the fossil fuel projects!” a woman screamed from the crowd.

“The remains of a chemical plant have given way to this beautiful park, just as Hoboken’s industrial past has given way to its vibrant present and future,” Murphy added.

“I think we share some of the same relatives,” Bhalla joked regarding the protestors.

He noted Senator Menendez helped secure $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the project.

“It is just the latest example of just how New Jersey is leading on community investments. We see a shining preview of the future and the sustainable infrastructure of tomorrow,” Menendez said.

He noted that the ferocious destruction wrought by Superstorm Sandy prompted such a project, a part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild by Design flood resiliency project, which has received $235 million in federal funds.

“I fought tooth and nail in Congress to secure a $50 billion dollar Superstorm Sandy bill to help our state recover. I was shocked to have my colleagues in the Senate object. I have always voted for uh wildfires in the West, flooding in the Mississippi, hurricanes in Louisiana,” the senator said.

“But when it came time to New Jersey, somehow we weren’t deserving. I reminded my colleagues we call this country the United States of America. We’re all in it together. We ultimately overcame their objections. Here in Hoboken, climate change is not a theoretical exercise. It is a reality that’s already here.”

Shortly thereafter, Bhalla pointed out that the project received $1 million from Hudson County’s Open Space fund.

“This is a place, a park where people can come now and enjoy themselves yet still resist uh potential storms that come Hoboken’s way,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise’s Chief of Staff Craig Guy, who won the primary to succeed him last week.

Furthermore, 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen noted the park is located in his district.

“This park is a national model for others to follow as we’re threatened by stronger, wetter storms on the front lines of climate change,” he said.

He also lauded Zimmer for having the vision to begin the process of transforming the area, which took three-and-a-half years to build.

“With today’s opening of ResilienCity, we make Hoboken – already one of the great and historical cities in America – an even better place to visit, work, live, or raise a family.”

The city has opened two resiliency parks since 2017: the Southwest Resiliency Park and the 7th & Jackson Resiliency Park, which together can detain a combined total of 670,000 gallons of stormwater during heavy weather events.

North Hudson Sewerage Authority Dr. Richard Wolff said the park christening is a highlight of his 32-year career. He explained that the stored stormwater that the authority will manage would help clean the Hudson River.

“This entire endeavor contributes to a cleaner Hudson Waterway and so doing brings us one very big step closer to a truly recreational Hudson River, and dare I say it? Perhaps even closer to a swimmable Hudson River,” he said to chuckles from the crowd.

During the public question period, Murphy criticized congestion pricing in New York City. He also justified his support for fossil fuel plants, arguing one in Newark is a backup to help prevent storm damage.

He also repeated his argument that the I-78 expansion to the Holland Tunnel, which is backed by labor unions but opposed by many elected officials in Hudson County, would not be bad since more cars will be electric.

“We’re stuck in this mindset that everything is gonna be emitting pollution, which is not the case, that’s not just a dream, that’s becoming a reality,” he said regarding electric vehicles.

Matt Smith of Food and Water Watch was a leader of the protestors and he told HCV that the fire and smoke last week was similar to the emissions from the plants the Murphy administration is proposing.

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  1. Over a decade ago when then Mayor Dawn Zimmer first started the ball rolling by securing the BSAF land and a large chunk of funding for the build out of the park, it was considered a pipe dream (pun intended) now that dream with the help of many others over the years has become reality.

  2. Love how the brainwashed lunatics demand more stupidity for their fantasy of a “climate emergency.” If it’s that much of an emergency what are you doing here? Why aren’t you in China where the emergency is the most emergent?

    Go ahead freaks, I dare you. I double dare you! Go take on the Chicoms!

  3. The best part of this park is it isn’t adding five more acres of dense residential buildings to an already congested Hoboken and adding to all the problems and expenses that come with them.

  4. Where is our pool?. We get promised every election cycle, nothing ever happens. I will be going to Weehawken pool, they built a beautiful pool on the water. Thanks for nothing Hoboken.

    • Hoboken taxpayers who actually pay full property taxes on OUR homes do not want the huge expense of a pool and the corresponding tax increase it would cause

      • Who says it will cost HUGE amount? For 3 months a year well worth it

        Someone who doesn’t want poor kids near their homes I guess….

  5. Where was the new director of recreaton who the media wrote a year ago was hired to revitalize the program? So tired of hearing “All the rich people leave in summer” which is code for you know what. This is the worst time for her to disappear. She needs to start being in the community and being responsive but I guess Ravi and the others want to go to their beach houses and hide.

  6. Hoboken’s largest park had only 19,000 square feet of grass, no shading. That’s less than 1/2 acres of open space for Hoboken residents in a 5 acre concrete jungle. Granted, it’s cheaper to maintain, but this “park” is a total miss.

  7. Let’s give credit where credit is due.

    The vision for this park started with a group called led by Leah Healey, her husband now Councilman Jim Doyle and Jim Kosis.

    When Dawn Zimmer ran for City Council and won on a “bring parks to the west side of Hoboken and use them to combat flooding”” platform in 2007, the vision was still a pipe dream.

    When Ms. Zimmer defied the odds and won the mayoralty (thanks to Peter Cammarano’s arrest for bribery), and made fighting overdevelopment and building parks on the West Side a priority, the vision went from pipe dream to policy objective, but there was still much work to be done.

    The property owner demanded massive development in exchange for a “free” small park surrounded by highrises. If not given the development, the price tag demanded was north of $50 million.

    Mayor Zimmer refused to consider a development deal, since she envisioned using all the land for park and did not want to burden the neighborhood with overdevelopment

    After Mayor Zimmer used eminent domain to aquire the first acre of the SW park for a small fraction of the asking price, the conversation changed, and Mayor Zimmer acquired the six acres of land for just $30 million. She obtained funding from sources that ensured not only that the land would have to be park, but that it would include the resiliency infrastructure needed to help reduce the neighborhood’s flooding.

    The effort was supported by the City Council – but the strongest support by far came from Councilwoman Giattino and then Councilman Cunningham (Councilman Doyle was not yet on the Council).

    Mayor Bhalla’s administration inherited not only the vision but the land and design concept. But the nitty gritty of the full park design and actual build, a large and important task as well, remained to be done.

    Kudos to Mayor Bhalla and his team for completing the job and making this great resiliency park a reality. THe park design would certainly be different had it been designed by a different Mayor.

    But let’s not forget to give kudos to those without whose work this great resiliency park would not exist at all.

    • Actually this area was discussed for a Park in the Master Plan from 2001 when Zimmer was living in Manhattan…

      Leah Healy was only ONE of the leaders of Hoboken Parks…
      She was also a partner in the Law Firm that made millions from the redevelopment legal fees Hoboken hired them to do when designating that area all the way back to Dave Roberts as Mayor and Mike Cricco was 5th Ward Council.
      Dawn didnt know that area existed until 2009

  8. SO we are all supposed to kneel to Saint Dawn of Parks 6.5 years after she quit Hoboken ( weeks after her giant Gala at Porter Collins… Okay thanks

    Only people who benefitted that mess was the Movers, realtors and family who dont have to be chased by the fumbles her messed up advisors caused her.

    Most of her key people left as well!