Hoboken: Bleak Landscape Plan

Waterfront Advocacy Group calls out “mayor” Zimmer as parks FAILURE

Well – it took long enough, but the waterfront advocacy group we mentioned earlier (The Fund For a Better Waterfront) finally “grew a pair,” and publicly acknowledged that our “mayor” Don Zimmer has FAILED – and has essentially provided a “BLEAK LANDSCAPE” for the property tax-paying residents of the Mile Square City. Read the article below from Ron Hine of FBW. Sad, but true…

Bleak Landscape Plan Hoboken NJ Zimmer

FBW condemns “mayor” Don Zimmer on parks “plan”

“When Zimmer became “mayor” in 2009 (and since being an elected politician in 2007), she promised to be a strong advocate for creating public open space. Yet, after five years as “mayor,” (and over seven years in public office in Hoboken), her administration has made little progress (next to none).

The southwest parks plan will yield less than an acre once (if) the court rules on an (exorbitant) price for that parcel condemned by the City. The administration’s negotiations to acquire the former industrial site in northwest Hoboken has dragged on for years without definitive resolution. As the population of Hoboken continues to swell and attract many families with children of all ages, the need for new open, safe, public spaces is more pressing than ever (as if our clueless “mayor” can even recognize that).

On September 15th, the City of Hoboken “unveiled” alternate proposals for the central waterfront from Fourth to Eleventh Streets. This project, titled “Frank Sinatra Drive Visioning and Concept Plan Design,” fails to even mention opportunities to create over six acres of new parkland east of Sinatra Drive at the water’s edge. Two key sites could provide the final connections for Hoboken’s waterfront park, thus making it continuous from the Hoboken Train Terminal to the Weehawken border.

The success of Hoboken’s waterfront to date can be measured by the fact that we have created an unquestionably public space — that is, a public park — along the water’s edge, available to people from all walks of life, for generations to come. This is in stark contrast to other municipalities along the Hudson River waterfront that have accepted the 30-foot state mandated walkway as the standard. To the north, this walkway often abuts private enclaves and in Jersey City it runs adjacent to high rise towers, with no clear separation between the public and private spaces.

For decades, FBW has proposed the concept of a continuous public park at the water’s edge. In Hoboken, most of this park has been built, including Pier A Park, Pier C Park, the promenade from Newark to Fourth Streets, Sinatra Park, Castle Point Park and Maxwell Place Park. These new public spaces have more than doubled the amount of Hoboken’s parkland.

The public input provided for the Sinatra Drive project overwhelmingly favors more open space similar to the stellar model provided at the South Waterfront. The good news is that Hoboken’s past success financing and developing the waterfront parks should provide the inspiration to complete the goal of a continuous, public waterfront park. This will require some complex negotiations and long-term planning, but it is certainly doable.

Abject Failure at Sinatra Park {missing trees}

Bleak landscape in Hoboken NJ thanks to zimmerEarlier this year, the “mayor” cut the ribbon for the newly rebuilt walkway and soccer field at Sinatra Park. This portion of the walkway includes a mere dozen small, ornamental trees that will provide no shade during the heat of summer. (This walkway connects to another segment of the waterfront walkway to the north on Stevens Institute property supported on piles over the Hudson River that is completely barren of any vegetation.)

The City of Hoboken is now poised to further extend this bleak landscape plan in its current redesign for Sinatra Drive. The September 15 presentation showed a paltry 18 trees along “The Point” (north of the Stevens Institute waterfront parking lot and south of Union Dry Dock).

The City’s recent and current plans stand in stark contrast to the hundreds of trees at Hoboken’s South Waterfront. Most are London Plane trees that form a lush canopy over the waterfront promenade, the bike path and Sinatra Drive.

“Bleak” is what you asked for when you voted for the current puppet “mayor.”

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