Hoboken YMCA gets lavish zoning approvals!

Each Hoboken Zoning meeting you might attend (all 6.5 of you), you’ll see countless projects get denied because of “height variances,” or “historical preservation” reasons.

However, because the Hoboken YMCA is such a political player in the “system” here in Hoboken – they got immediate variances to build a story above the already massive structure and diminish the views of residents for some subsidized tenants. Bet you anything “something is up to NO good over here at this project.” Perhaps some official investigation should (already) be started?

Local 78 protesting Hoboken YMCA

3/13/2012 Update:

Paul Somerville, President of the Hoboken YMCA Board of Directors, recently announced a fundraiser to benefit the Hoboken YMCA.

But don’t expect members of Laborers Local 78, an asbestos, lead, and hazardous waste removal union, to be in attendance. Instead, members of Laborers Local 78 are currently picketing Somerville’s office located at 129 Washington Street in protest of renovations work being performed at the Hoboken YMCA with non-union labor.

Protest against debarred contractor using public funds

Currently, the East Rutherford-based firm Faith Environmental is performing renovations on the residential portion of the YMCA. According to the Labor Department, the firm is currently debarred by the State of New Jersey. Boro Atanasoski, the owner of Faith Environmental is debarred until May 7, 2013. A firm that is debarred it is prohibited from obtaining public works contracts.

Late last year, a press release from the YMCA highlighted that public funding was obtained for the renovations:

Hoboken411 does not wish to discourage anyone from attending the YMCA fundraiser. Hopefully renovations will be completed soon so residents can return and the community can resume use of the facilities.

But, don’t be surprised if there is a rat in the parking lot wearing a tuxedo!

YMCA in Hoboken undergoing renovations

1/24/2012 Update:

Don’t get too excited about the construction and demolition going on at the Uptown YMCA. They’re using the nearly $15 million in taxpayer dollars they received to fix up those low-income housing rooms.

No concrete plans are in the works at the present time to bring back the pool and fitness center that thousands of Hoboken residents got great use out of. But enjoy the scenery and less parking in the meantime, though!

Union Rat makes appearance at Hoboken YMCA: Asbestos Kills!

Someone’s not happy about the contractor choice the YMCA made. This morning, a giant Union Rat was in front, along with a coffin that had a banner hanging on it saying “Asbestos Kills.”

Faith Environmental (based out of East Rutherford) was the target of this protest – saying “Does Hoboken YMCA think it’s OK to steal?”

Apparently Faith Environmental was debarred by the State of NJ for cheating their workers. Just another day in Hoboken…

Hoboken YMCA gets millions to renovate low income housing

12/9/2011 Update:

The Hoboken / North Hudson YMCA announced recently that they were able to acquire $14 million taxpayer dollars to spruce up the low-income housing portion of the facility at 13th & Washington.

This is coming nearly two years after they suddenly shut down…

“The Hoboken North Hudson YMCA successfully completed a complex financing transaction resulting in grants from the State of New Jersey and Hudson County as well as Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits in excess of $14 million in the aggregate. The critical funds, extremely difficult to obtain given sharp declines in government revenue and the depressed economic environment, are being used to renovate and expand residential units.”

This money is reportedly only being used to renovate the over 90 residential housing units for low-income individuals. Wow! Doesn’t that cost more than some luxury condos in Hoboken?

YMCA officials said work should be completed by early 2013.

This money does not include restoring the fitness center, pool, or any of the other recreational aspects of the building. The rest, officials said, would (hopefully) be raised “through fundraising efforts.”

At this rate, you think we’ll see a fully-functioning YMCA in Hoboken by 2015?

Hoboken residents upset about sudden YMCA closure

3/19/2010:

Many Hoboken411 readers (and residents) have sent emails in today about the closure of the YMCA – including many who paid full annual memberships just weeks ago, without being warned about the suspension.

  • “The YMCA facility is closed, only residents are allowed in the facility. A sign and letter are posted on the door. I sent these from my cell phone, I do not know if you will be able to see the sign and letter. The letter is signed by the North Hudson Board of the YMCA. The women at the door was pissed at some lady named Julie. She said Julie must be in the Caribbean with the Fed’s money.”
  • Can Beth Mason save the Y again? Or maybe the Mayor can step in… oops Hoboken has a Mayor.
  • “They took our money ($1000+) with NO warning about an upcoming 18 month renovation. All we have is a sign on the door and we are ignored by the employees inside the empty building. This is absolutely out of control, terrible customer service as they lie to patrons and allowed us to sign a 1 year agreement.”

YMCA Press Release March 19, 2010

The Hoboken-North Hudson YMCA announced today that it has suspended health and family programming at its facility at 1301 Washington St. in preparation for a long-planned expansion and renovation project, expected to begin in a few months. The YMCA’s low-income residence will remain open.

More than two years ago, the Hoboken-North Hudson YMCA announced major plans to rehabilitate and expand its historic building at 13th and Washington Streets. The goal is to renovate the facilities so that the Y can accommodate more low-income housing residents, as well as expand its health and family programs. However, due to the economic downturn, the financing for the project has been delayed.

In preparation for the project, the Y had cleared one of its two residential floors and froze its membership fees at 2007 rates. The YMCA board of directors had hoped to keep operations going during the construction project, and turned to the community for support through fundraisers and donations. Community response has been strong, which has helped keep the programs going during the protracted planning period, but in the current economic climate, these other sources of funding haven’t kept up with the expenses.

Hoboken-North Hudson YMCA Director Julie Gallanty said, “This is a very painful decision for us, and we know it will not be easy on our staff or members, but we’re committed to doing everything we can to find interim jobs for our staff and access to nearby YMCAs for our members.”

Board Chair Paul Somerville said, “Our board’s commitment to maintaining a vital, mission-driven YMCA presence in Hoboken is as strong as it’s ever been. We expect to complete the financial arrangements necessary to start the construction project in the coming months. The Hoboken-North Hudson has served our community with distinction and pride for 125 years, and our renovated facility will enable us to continue this legacy of service for generations to come. ”

Somerville added that the board will continue to seek additional sources of financial support, including grants and donations. Fundraisers planned for this spring and the Taste of Hoboken, scheduled for Nov. 9, are still a go.

5/9/2009 Update:

The Hoboken YMCA issued this press release regarding this week’s story.

ymca-power-bill-unpaid-in-hoboken

YMCA Welcomes Community Support

“Two years ago, the Hoboken-North Hudson YMCA announced major plans to rehabilitate and expand our facilities. Our goal is to renovate and update our facilities so we can carry on our mission of offering low-income housing for up to 96 residents, as well expand our offerings of recreation and family programs.

As every community Y is set up to be self-sustaining, our board of directors sat down in 2006 to map out a 10-year strategic plan that would enable the Y to continue its mission. The board, which is composed of a diverse group of community members, considered all options, and determined that the best course would be to remain in this historic 80-year-old building in the heart of Hoboken. However, a comprehensive modernization project would be required to upgrade and meet current ADA and safety requirements.”

The board determined that the most efficient way to finance this construction was with a combination of tax credits, construction loans and donations to a capital campaign. A key component was a special NJHMFA tax credit, which the Y applied for and earned in 2007, outperforming several other nonprofit applicants from across the state.

These tax credits are often used as investment vehicles, which would provide the Y with the funding to carry out the first phase of the construction project. We were on target to achieve our goal of securing the financing and initiating the construction project when the financial markets froze. We have been working diligently since late last summer to develop a viable alternative plan to enable us to continue operating and while trying to bring this construction project to fruition.

In preparation for the construction project, we had cleared our top floor of residents and postponed some needed renovations to recreational facilities, resulting in a decline in membership. The ongoing delays have put increased pressure on our finances, so we have turned our attention to new fundraising initiatives and community appeals. In the meantime, we will continue to offer our current recreational programs and continue to offer housing to our residents.

We appreciate Councilwoman Mason’s support, and the support of others in Hoboken. For example, Madison Bar & Grill is sponsoring a golf outing on May 20, and other businesses are offering to be part of future fundraising events.

We have been a part of the Hoboken-North Hudson community for more than 125 years. First and foremost, we are a social service organization, dedicated to promoting good health, strong families, leadership, community development and global understanding. As a 501c3 organization, contributions are tax deductible. We encourage individuals and businesses that would like to make a donation to visit our website to learn more about ways to get involved.

5/6/2009:

Unpaid bill threatens the “Y”

There are big financial problems coming to light at the YMCA at 13th and Washington.

Hoboken411 has learned PSE&G issued a disconnection notice last week after the Y racked up $85,000 in unpaid electric and gas bills. The Y is home to several dozen men who live in low-cost housing there. Word is, that the Board of Directors haven’t met in months because they can’t get a quorum. Supporters are calling for an emergency board meeting to address the situation, but none has been scheduled as of yet.

The Y is in the Second Ward, represented by Councilwoman Beth Mason, who after hearing about the problem wrote a personal check to make a payment on the arrears portion of the PSEG bill to keep the lights and gas on, and the men in their homes. In addition to calling on the board to act quickly, Mason contacted state officials seeking emergency support to keep the Y open, and is planning a community fundraiser. The unpaid power bills may be the tip of the iceberg, as the full scale of the financial problems have yet to be fully revealed.

See Mason’s statement below:

Mason: Urgent Appeal for YMCA Donations

beth-mason-ymca-press-releaseHoboken 2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason, today urged residents to send donations to the YMCA located at 1301 Washington Street. This important community institution currently has more than $85,000 in unpaid bills.

Councilwoman Mason said, “I learned last Friday that PSE&G was going to tum off the electricity to the building. 50 men live at this facility. In addition to affordable housing, hundreds of members use the YMCA for recreation and other programs. I immediately wrote a check to ensure the electricity stayed on in the building, but the true extent of the financial trouble is not yet known.”

“The financial need to keep the YMCA is an urgent crisis. These are difficult times, but I’m appealing to everyone to give what they can to help. I am also reaching out to local and state officials to see what can be offered immediately to assist our community YMCA,” said Mason.

Councilwoman Mason will soon be planning a fundraiser to bring the community together to help the YMCA. More details will follow in the next few weeks.

For more information, please contact Councilwoman Beth Mason at (201) 656-7549.

Hoboken NJ

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