Hoboken Southwest Parks Coalition Announces It Will Pay for Land Appraisals on Jackson Street Lots

Due to the outpouring of concern for their neighborhood and quality of life, residents who live in southwest Hoboken have continued to urge their local council members to push for the Jackson Street lot appraisals after recently being rejected by the city. Our local government’s excuse for not appraising the land or considering it for open space is that it believes it will be too expensive, and they only want to focus on the SW Park, a park that has been promised for over six years and has yet to exist in any tangible way.

The Hoboken Southwest Parks Coalition (HSPC) believes that not only should the city fulfill its promise of building the contiguous 6-acre park (SW6) in southwest Hoboken, it should also seek out any additional available land for open space. It is shortsighted for the City of Hoboken to not consider the Jackson Street lots for park space based solely on the unverified speculation of land values. In addition, one of the primary roles of our local government is to seek out ALL funding mechanisms for open space. We are not limited to a single county grant, and for the city to suggest it as the only means available for the SW Park is imprudent and illustrates that open space is a low priority for our elected officials. If our local government is truly doing its job, then it must research and apply for private foundation and state grants, as well as seek out corporate sponsors. There are thousands of funding sources and hundreds of millions of dollars available; the City of Hoboken must explore all avenues of funding.

Pursuing new open space is not wasteful spending, it is a necessary investment. So, to further the process on potentially acquiring the Jackson Street lots, HSPC will pay for the first $3,500 of the land appraisals cost. Any remaining balance, which would be minimal, can be covered by donations from residents.

HSPC’s intention is two-fold:

  1. We support the acquisition of land that is available and can be used for open space because it improves the quality of life in the neighborhood. In fact, open space is good for all of Hoboken. This does not diminish the need for the 6-acre SW Park. Our city is long overdue on that promise.
  2. We believe open space initiatives do not take a backseat to infrastructure improvements, they ride alongside one another. Green open space is one of the best ways to help mitigate flooding. Not only does the porous grass surface keep rainwater from flooding streets, flood mitigation material like Invisible Structures-Rainstore 3, a solid product with a 25-year track record, can be installed underneath the park and sidewalks to alleviate flooding. Invisible Structures, along with green open space, are a great way to mitigate the flooding in one of the worst flood-prone areas of Hoboken, the southwest neighborhood where these particular lots sit at the intersection of First and Jackson Streets.

By beginning the appraisal process, our community can move one step closer to attaining additional open space and the benefits it brings:

  • Improvement of quality of life by providing green sanctuaries, play spaces, exercise spaces, and clean air
  • Increased economic value by beautifying neighborhoods and improving property values
  • Flood mitigation

Residents & 4th Ward Councilman Petition City for New Open Spaces in SW Hoboken

Over 200 residents in the southwest part of Hoboken along with Councilman Tim Occhipinti are urging the City of Hoboken to purchase two additional parcels of land to use as open space. The SW neighborhood has been one of the fastest growing communities but has yet to see any new parkland for this densely populated neighborhood.

SW6 is an action plan to build a contiguous 6-acre park in the SW part of Hoboken. This plan was unveiled over 5 years ago to great accolades from many of our current elected officials, however, no land has been purchased for this 6 acre park as of yet. The request for these new open spaces are in no way conflicted with the SW6 plan, in fact, more green spaces would complement any future open spaces and the neighborhood as a whole.

While residents hope and wait for a more comprehensive park area (SW6) to be built as the focal point of a SW Redevelopment Plan, they also need smaller open spaces – some of their reasons are stated below:

”As a resident of this area, I believe the town needs to do something here. This intersection remains to be an eye sore in an otherwise beautiful neighborhood."

Because I have to look at that gross lot every morning when I leave my building. I would love for it to be an open space or even better a community garden."

”Procuring these plots will protect the last pieces of land in the SW from being turned into more high rise apartments."

”I have a dog and would love a dog park closer than the one at 4th and Bloomfield."

”Both properties are eye sores and there is not much open space at all in our corner of Hoboken but TONS of kids. It would be a great addition to the neighborhood and encourage cars to slow down."

Obviously, the residents are passionate about improving their neighborhood and quality of life. If you’d like to join their cause, please see the link below to sign the petition. In addition, Councilman Occhipinti has provided a link to the page where you can download HSPC’s 6-acre park plan, SW6.

Councilman Occhipinti’s letter:

Friends and Neighbors,

Hoboken needs leaders committed to creating safe places for our children to play and for all our families to enjoy.

Right now, we have the chance to make a real difference along these lines. And that’s why I hope you’ll click this link and sign our petition advocating for new open space at 1st and Jackson Streets.

We’ve already collected over 220 signatures in a little over one week. On March 20th, we’ll present this petition to Mayor Zimmer and the City Council at that night’s council meeting. I hope you’ll join us that evening to let your voice be heard during the Public Comments section at the beginning of the meeting.

I also want to clarify that advocating for new open space at these lots in no way infringes upon the goal for a large continuous park in the 4th Ward. These lots would be in addition to the SW6 Plan. You can find more information on the SW6 Plan by visiting SW6 Plan. (download here)

These two lots can be purchased now in addition to building the much-needed 6-acre park. By purchasing and turning them into green open space for the few thousand people in the SW part of Hoboken, it in no way minimizes or undermines the urgent need for a 6 acre park in that area. The $3 million grant from the Hudson County Trust Fund dedicated to open space in SW Hoboken is due to run out this summer. It was extended last summer by request of the Zimmer Administration.

To date, the Zimmer Administration has not spent a single dollar on acquiring new open space in the 4th Ward. They have two funding mechanisms, the $3 million Hudson County Grant and the $20 million bond authorization by the City Council approved in the spring of 2011. For years, residents have been taxed by both Hudson County and the City for open space with no new parks added to our neighborhoods.

In our urban landscape, we need as much open space as possible. Especially here in Southwest Hoboken. Let’s begin the process of acquiring the vacant lot and Nardine’s at 1st and Jackson Street as soon as possible.

I’m sick and tired of hearing people talk about open space and doing nothing about it. We need action from City Hall, not just more lip service.

Sign our petition today by clicking on this link.

Best,

Tim

P.S. To keep the momentum going, please forward this email to a few of your friends and neighbors right now. Facebook and Twitter are great way to spread the word, too!

Tim Occhipinti
4th Ward Councilman
(917) 721–3926
[email protected]