Thursday, August 15, 2013

Court approves: Hoboken can purchase SW acre of land for park; City Council vote last step toward years long dream

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Thursday August 15, 2013, 2:05 PM

City of Hoboken

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Community: City of Hoboken Receives Court Approval for Southwest Park Acquisition

Hudson County Superior Court Assignment Judge Peter Bariso ruled on Wednesday that the City of Hoboken may acquire a nearly 1 acre property for the first phase of a Southwest Park, an important component of a comprehensive flood mitigation strategy.

“I have been involved in the fight for a Southwest Park for many years, and I am very excited that we are finally in a position to acquire the first building block of what will ultimately be a larger park,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “As soon as we deposit the check with the court, we will own the property and can begin the community planning process for this much-needed park. We are now just one vote away from turning this vision that so many have fought for into reality. The future of the Southwest Park is now in the hands of the City Council. I urge them to support this park because for most of us, parks are our shared back yards, and I believe all our residents - regardless of where they live - should have a park within a short walking distance.”

At the September Council meeting, the City Council will be asked to approve the deposit with the court for the offer amount of $2.937 million. The funding is available through a $3 million Hudson County Open Space grant. In addition, the City Council will be asked to award a contract for a planner to begin the public planning process for the Southwest Park.

“Hoboken deserves this new park,” said Hudson County Freeholder Anthony L. Romano. “Working with County Executive DeGise and my colleagues on the freeholder board, I am glad we are able to provide the grant funding to make this possible. We are proud to work with Mayor Zimmer and the Hoboken City Council as they endeavor to acquire this land.”

“This is a great day for Hoboken,” added Councilman David Mello. “We have been working towards having a park in our neighborhood as parks advocates since 2006. The acquisition of the properties on this particular block has been a top priority for me as Chair of the Community Development committee. I am confident it will serve as the ideal cornerstone for what will one day be an even larger Southwest Park.”

The Judge found that the City engaged in good faith negotiations with the property owners of Block 12, which is located between Jackson Street, Harrison Street, Observer Highway and Paterson Avenue. While the City offered $2.937 million for the property based on an appraisal, the final value would be established by an independent three-member commission appointed by the Judge.

As part of a comprehensive resiliency and readiness strategy to protect from flooding, the City is receiving $500,000 in technical assistance through the Rockefeller Foundation-funded Re.Invest Initiative to incorporate sustainable flood mitigation strategies, including underground water detention systems, into a new Southwest Park and other proposed parks in flood-prone areas. The City’s full Resiliency and Readiness Plan is available online at www.hobokennj.org/ready.

The Southwest Area has been designated an Area in Need of Rehabilitation, and if the first phase of the park is acquired, the City intends to substantially expand the park through the Rehabilitation process. For full details, view this message on the web.