Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher: Rebuild by Design & the North End Community Development

Official release:

Dear friends and neighbors:
Hope you are all safe and warm today.  If you are itching to get out, feel free to come to the City Council meeting tonight at 7pm at City Hall. Alternatively, you can watch online HERE (the link will show promptly at 7) or on the Hoboken Facebook Page.   
On a relative basis, tonight’s agenda is light, but there will be a brief presentation tonight at 7pm on the Rebuild By Design – Hoboken Cove Park (or as I refer to as Harborside Park).  I recommend everyone to tune in if they can.  
I asked that this connection with the City Council be made.  This is an odd process in that we have non-Hoboken agencies creating a large open space for Hoboken.  Don’t get me wrong – I am 100% supportive of the project and think AECOM and DEP are doing amazing work.  But after going to the recent meetings, I came to realize that for this part of RBD specifically, there needs to be more conversation between the RBD project team and those who are tasked with ensuring resident safety (the entire governing body) and those who ultimately approve the tax levy (the city council).  What do I mean?  I go back to my concerns raised in my email last week:  15th and Park as a main park entrance (too dangerous) and the potential cost and effort required to maintain these beautiful, yet complicated designs (may break the bank).  
This project has a path and timeline of its own – dictated by HUD - that has to be met.  The project requires certain easements with the City, among others, to build.  So getting together now, so we can all be on the right path, will make a great outcome more certain.  
As an aside, but kind of related, we had a North End Community Development subcommittee meeting last night to discuss the next steps toward building a plan for the North End.  This committee is chaired by Peter Cunningham and includes Jen Giattino, Jim Doyle and me.  Our architect shared some preliminary ideas and will hopefully be incorporating the feedback we provided that mainly focused on having more commercial uses than residential as shown to us.  The city will be sending out a notice about an upcoming community meeting – I encourage you to count how many times the word “commercial” is mentioned… 
If you don't see the value between commercial and residential, think about your long bus or ferry line, or how long it takes you to get out of Hoboken by car in the morning, or the sports team that your child is on that has 20 kids for only 5 spots, or all of those businesses on Washington street that are failing because they have no daytime business.  More residential adds to all of those issues.  More commercial would mean local jobs, complementary commutes, and a daytime population that will help support all of our local businesses.  
Back to why is this “kinda related”?  Because there seems to be little if any coordination between the North End planning process and the RBD Park planning process.  And we learned about a MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR NHSA project (a positive one) involving the new BASF Park and raising roads in the North End that also doesn’t seem to be coordinated with either project.  We raised this last night and encouraged better linkage and I have already reached out to Mayor Bhalla and suggested this to him as well.
We are 1.4 square miles.  The biggest small town in America.  We cannot afford to not coordinate and work together.  We only have one shot to get it right.  More to come…
This was definitely longer than what I planned tonight!  What else is new... so much going on and so much to say and share.
As always please forward this to anyone you think may be interested and feel free to reach out via email, text or phone (201-208-1674) about this or anything else important to you.      
Best wishes, 
TiffanieFisher
Hoboken City Council, 2nd Ward
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