U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) and Mayor Dawn Zimmer touted the $230 million flood prevention project known as Rebuild by Design during a fundraiser at 10th & Willow Bar & Grill in Hoboken last night.
“I want to thank you for all of your support in Hoboken, especially all of your support for Rebuild by Design, it’s really gonna help us to protect our city. So, very, very grateful of your work,” Zimmer told Sires to kick off the program.
“The mayor’s been to my office at least half a dozen times, in Washington [D.C.], not here in Jersey City, and she’s always, always looking out for Hoboken,” stated Sires.
The Congressman joked that he though Zimmer was “nuts” when she asked for $240 million dollars in federal aid (the mayor corrected him that is was actually $230 million), adding that “Hoboken got one of the largest grants I’ve ever heard of.”
After a series of public meeting late last year, some of which became quite contentious of the potential concept of seawalls, Zimmer, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner and officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) unveiled the three latest Rebuild by Design options in February.
At a public meeting just days later, Turner assured those in attendance that Option 1, which involved the seawalls, was “dead on arrival.”
Then, in April, city officials revealed what impact the project would have on Washington Street before the state ultimately selecting Option 3 in September: which calls for construction of a flood resistance structure stretching from 19th Street in Weehawken and extending south into Hoboken, slightly inland from the river.
The project will also protect parts of Jersey City from any potential storm surges.
“I give her a great deal of credit because she did not give up, she knew exactly what Hoboken needed and she followed up on everything. After she left my office, I think she followed up the next day to see what I did on her behalf,” Sires also said, noting that he knows the difficulties of obtaining federal aid as a mayor.
Sires was the mayor of West New York from 1995 until 2006.
Zimmer, who is up for re-election next year, also said she is in good spirits as she seeks her third term.
“You know, I’m really excited, 2017 is gonna be a big year. I’m very excited to keep moving forward with Rebuild by Design, thrilled that we have a consensus on an alignment for it, on track to keep that moving forward, that will protect our city from the flooding,” explained Zimmer.
“I’m really excited to moving forward with getting Washington Street done and BASF. We will be, we are very close, to purchasing a six-acre property and it will be our largest park in Hoboken and it will be a resiliency park that really protects the western side of the city from the flash flooding.”
Zimmer is expected to face off with Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5) in next year’s mayoral race, though no other candidates have declared yet.
Others in attendance included Turner, Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-33), Hoboken Council members Mike DeFusco, Tiffanie Fisher, Ravi Bhalla, James Doyle and Jen Giattino, Hoboken Board of Education Trustee Sharon Angley, among many others.