Zimmer, Turner, DEP official unveil 3 latest plans for $230M Rebuild by Design project

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Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner and an official from the State Department of Environmental Protection unveiled the three new design alternatives for the $230 million Rebuild by Design project.

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In attendance alongside Zimmer were Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, the NJ DEP’s Rebuild by Design Project Manager Dennis Reinknecht, and Hoboken Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla, among others.

“The threat is real, if we reflect on what happened with Sandy, we have some images that show what happened during Sandy and there were 500million gallons of water that came into our city,” Zimmer said at the beginning of the press conference at city hall.

“Our residents were impacted, our businesses were impacted, critical assets like North Hudson Sewerage Authority and our substation were all underwater. It was a disaster for our city and the reality is the only way we’re going to protect from 500 million gallons coming in on the city again is to have some kind of resist alignment along the waterfront.”

Reinknecht gave brief summaries on each of the three designs.

“Alternative 1 provides the highest level of storm protection for Weehawken, Jersey City, and Hoboken. It has significant challenges that we’d have to evaluate over the next 3-4 months.”

“Alternative 2 provides significant flood protection for the towns of Hoboken, Weehawken, and Jersey City and it uses a public right of way,” concluding with, “alternative 3 uses a mixture of public and private properties which we will be evaluating more fully over the next 3-4 months with our contractors: Dewberry Engineers.”

Zimmer reiterated that these plans do not have to be an “ugly wall,” a criticism some residents had during public meetings held in the city late last year, also a point she addressed during her State of the City Address last week.

“The idea is not an ugly wall and it’s not an ugly wall, the idea is to do a design that fits in with the urban fabric of our city and becomes an amenity for our city.”

“I really hope that all members of the community will come out really with a commitment to protect our city and work together to figure out how we are going to protect our city but then come and share their ideas and their perspective on how can we design this in a way that works for our community,” the mayor also said.

A community meeting will be held on Thursday at the Wallace School gymnasium, 1100 Willow Ave., from 6p.m. to 9 p.m., for residents to ask questions about the newly unveiled designs.