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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]

Shrinking Southwest Park Land

For years Hoboken Southwest Parks Coalition and residents advocated that 61 Jackson Street, Block 14, be part of SW6, a SW, contiguous 6-acre park. Many residents thought it offered the perfect area for a much needed southwest dog park to anchor the main park. That was one of several ideas of how Block 14 could be incorporated into the park area. But back in May 2009, HSPC became very concerned when non-park development proceeded on Block 14. Last week the Hoboken Zoning Board voted 6-1 to approve variances for the development on Block 14 which is now designated to be a restaurant.

While HSPC was advocating that this block be part of the SW6 Park, Mayoral Candidate Dawn Zimmer had other plans. When the construction on Block 14 began in 2009, it was immediately followed by Zimmer’s press release, “Southwest Park Update from Mayoral Candidate Dawn Zimmer” in which she advocated for a steakhouse:

“As many of you may have heard, the property owner of Block 14 is building a steakhouse on his property in Southwest Hoboken. This land is a small part of the total property identified in the Master Plan as parkland for a large park in our neighborhood.”

“I do believe the steakhouse will provide a needed amenity in our neighborhood, since we barely have any restaurants in the 4th Ward. Hopefully we will be able to close Jackson Street for at least part of the day as part of an overall park plan, and this restaurant will provide “eyes on the future park” that will help ensure a safer park with more people around and watching. (The restaurant plans to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner).”

To see more about HSPC’s efforts for a 6-acre SW park, read the earlier article on Block 14 and HSPC’s efforts at Hoboken411.

For more information about the SW6 park concept titled “SW6: A Greener, Greater Hoboken” please download a copy of the report from <a href=”http://www.hobokenspc.org/?page_id=75″>this page.