Ines Garcia Keim: Parks & Open Space
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Hudson County (5th District) Freeholder candidate Ines Garcia-Keim sent this letter today for all to read:
In a recent letter to the weekly paper, one of my opponents in the race for the 5th Freeholder District wants us to believe that he is a changed man after speaking with Councilpersons Dawn Zimmer and Peter Cunningham. I am happy Mr. Raia is finally talking to two of the many people who have been advocating for more open space in Hoboken, but it smells to me like a political stunt. It is much easier to talk than it is to work with people who are fighting to stop out of scale development from taking over the few remaining open parcels in Hoboken. I know because I’ve been working for years.
It is much easier to look at a completed Master Plan than it is to actively participate in its development over 3 years’ time. It is easy to repeat “save block 11” after activists circulate a petition, present it to the city council, and continue to work to secure community support and funding to make those parcels part of a large park. It is just as easy for Mr. Raia to say he had the “best intentions” as an excuse not to fulfill the promises he and his developer partners at URSA/Tarragon made for a charter school facility, a community center and a municipal pool in a redevelopment zone they control.
Garcia Keim: Raia absent on Open Space issues
Where was Mr. Raia when activists fought to secure 1600 Park Avenue as open space to serve the growing population in northern Hoboken? Where was he when a coalition of seven community organizations fought to prevent a massive residential building (which now sits empty) from going up on a lot on the Hoboken/Jersey City Heights border designated as open space in the Master Plan just 100 feet from the light rail tracks rising 20 feet over the Palisades? What is his position on the expansion of the Northwest Redevelopment Zone to include the Western Edge which also had originally been designated as open space in the Master Plan?
I am a veteran of all these battles, some of which were won, some lost and others ongoing. I was there every time. I have spoken at public meetings, written letters to newspapers, lobbied council members, mayors, senators, congressmen and representatives of NJ Transit. I serve as a trustee of the Fund for a Better Waterfront and the Quality of Life Coalition, two organizations with an outstanding history of advocating for open space in Hoboken.
Ines Garcia Keim supports Block 11 Park
On the issue of what should be built on Block 11, I want to be very clear. I have ALWAYS supported the rerouting of Paterson Plank Road as described in the Hoboken Master Plan and support the SW6 Action Plan. In fact, I translated the SW6 petition into Spanish so the message would reach the entire 4th Ward community. (I have done translation work for many petition and election campaigns in Hoboken, including those of Tony Soares, Michael Lenz, and Dawn Zimmer). I carried the petition in the Housing Authority neighborhoods and spoke with many people I know there to educate them about the plan and encouraged them to sign the petition.
As a trustee of the Hoboken Historical Museum, I voiced my concerns about the board’s plan to enter into an agreement with a developer to build a high-rise condo building where the Master Plan calls for a park. I cast my vote in the minority against the proposal. My disagreement is not with the Museum’s programs and mission, but with balancing the needs of the Museum and the developer’s proposal with the needs of the neighboring community. The building’s design is creative and attractive, it offers a great opportunity to fulfill the HHM’s plan for growth, but in my opinion the Museum should not have signed on to this proposal for a building on land designated as potential park space.
Unlike Mr. Raia I did not wait until I wanted to run for County Freeholder to speak with advocates for quality parks and recreation facilities in Hoboken. I am one of the people in the front lines of this effort and I pledge to my Hoboken and Jersey City Heights neighbors that I will never lose my fighting spirit. I ask that you give me the opportunity to better serve you as your County Freeholder so that we can win the important battles that will bring us all a better quality of life. It would be an honor to earn your vote on June 3rd.
Ines Garcia Keim