When will a Southwest Park be built?
Will you go to this steak house?
Figured this is a good post as any to update the progress of the new Steak House / Bar & Restaurant that’s being built in the former Downtown Pub location. I was getting happy for a minute when I saw the castle-like columns on the perimeter of the building (murder burgers would be the bomb for Hoboken). But that’s not happening.
Workers on scene called the place a “bar.” Other residents call this “part of the park that coulda been…”
The SW6 2nd Anniversary is a good time to reflect
This week marked two years since the Hoboken Southwest Parks Coalition unveiled the SW6 plan for a Greener, Greater Hoboken. SW6 struck at the heart of former Mayor David Roberts’ redevelopment scheme for the Southwest and plotted a new course for sensible development, a six-acre park and flood mitigation. So what’s happened since, and where’s the park?
Before we give you the official (and far more diplomatic) anniversary message from HSPC, allow me to be far more blunt in this editorial comment: the politician who originally made the most political hay out of calling for a Southwest Park has done far too little to make it happen.
Flash back to 2007…
Ahead of a City Council election, citizens associated with the parks group led the challenge to the Roberts redevelopment plan supported by incumbent 4th ward Councilman Chris Campos. They spread the word through Hoboken411. The activists searched for an alternative for Campos, and came up with the unknown Dawn Zimmer.
With big help from yours truly, Zimmer used the lack of a park and inability to control flooding as her two major issues in her campaign against Campos. The rallying cry originated and grew on 411. Here is where light first shined on the history of inaction by Campos and Roberts, and for the first time new voters in the 4th ward started paying attention. When Zimmer won her third election in November 2007 she gave Hoboken411 credit for bringing out the vote.
“Let’s face it, it’s hip to be on 411 and keep informed. A weekly paper just doesn’t have the same kind of energy as instant news and lively discussions. We appreciate all the work you do behind the scenes to keep the site updated with the latest news. And I know it has got to take a lot of effort to monitor some of those crazy bloggers. Through it all, your work has definitely increased voter participation in the 4th Ward!”– Dawn Zimmer, 11/10/2007
Once elected performance is critical
Elected officials are fair game for reasonable criticism. When Zimmer appeared to be slacking on her parks and flooding promises, 411 commenters began to notice. They were shouted down by her closest political allies (including her husband) who signed up under multiple screen names to bash those who were trying to hold Zimmer (and other politicians’) feet to the fire. To some – criticism of Ms. Zimmer is sacrilege, heresy and a crime punishable by public humiliation. To the rest of us, Zimmer is just another elected official who has said one thing and done another. So we now say what HSPC would never be so impolitic to say: Dawn Zimmer has dropped the ball on the SW6 plan.
Zimmer’s Mayoral dash Southwest Park hopes
Dawn Zimmer started spending a lot more time outside the Fourth Ward as political players were telling Zimmer she should run for Mayor. Did Councilwoman Zimmer hold a community meeting on redevelopment in the Fourth Ward? No, but she did hold one about plans for the Fifth. Zimmer lost the Fourth Ward in May and June, and has largely put it aside to build up her voter and fundraising base in the northern part of town.
As this Hoboken411 editorial comment wraps up – we call on Dawn Zimmer and her council colleagues to read the following message from the Hoboken Southwest Parks Coalition and take action on SW6 before yet another plot of proposed parkland is lost to development.
READ HSPC’S MESSAGE AFTER THE JUMP!
(Southwest Park – continued…)
What happened to the SW Park?
From the Hoboken Southwest Parks Coalition:
“Saturday September 19th was the two year anniversary of “SW6, A Greener, Greater Hoboken.” Seven hundred and thirty days ago HSPC unveiled SW6 and received praise and accolades from Hoboken’s City Council, over a thousand residents throughout the town, and an award from the Quality of Life Coalition.
But after the great fanfare, what happened to the park? What is taking so long?
These are the questions residents frequently ask HSPC. After two years, we would love to tell you that the city is moving forward and making great progress on SW6, but it isn’t. The efforts on the SW park and the SW6 plan can be summed up in a simple list:
- Council members Nino Giacchi and Beth Mason put forth the only legislation specific to the SW park when they sponsored the third Resolution for Appraisals. Thanks to them, the park land appraisals were completed last March.
- On behalf of the City of Hoboken, HSPC applied for Hudson County Open Space funding for two years in a row, a labor-intensive application and presentation. The second application was awarded $500,000 because the land appraisals had been completed.
- Currently, a steak house is being built on Block 14, a parcel of land that the city recently appraised for park land, and which is part of the SW6 park. As you know, the county planning board notified HSPC that the steak house was being built on a county road without county approvals, yet no intervention from any elected official took place.
What can be done now to get the SW park built?
We’ll be honest. The citizens of Hoboken and the activists have done more than their fair share of the work. The board members of HSPC have put in hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to produce the SW6 concept and to promote it to our elected and county officials and the general population.
It is time to ask our elected officials to deliver on their park promises that they all campaigned on.
For those of you who are new to the SW6 Concept, we encourage to download the full proposal from our site at: http://www.hobokenspc.org/?page_id=75
Summary of SW6:
SW6- A New Vision for Southwest Hoboken
The thoroughly researched 60-page report “SW6, A Greener, Greater Hoboken” was presented to the City Council as a roadmap for sensible development, flood mitigation, and the 6-acre park proposed in the Hoboken Master Plan.
Retaining what we love about Hoboken
SW6 includes mixed use buildings that retain the light, airy, openness of Hoboken at a very human scale. A historically restored My-T-Fine Building would be the centerpiece of the development zone, anchoring a lively, vital new community that includes residential and non-residential projects.
Market rate and affordable rental and for-sale housing will stand alongside office space, shopping, service-oriented retail, dining and galleries in SW6. The entire neighborhood could reap the benefits of the establishment of Southwest Hoboken as a LEED certified “Green Development Zone.”
A Southwest Plan that makes sense
SW6 includes a comprehensive proposal to alleviate the flooding through proven, innovative technology that will retain flood water below a beautiful park, instead of mixing it with raw sewage to wade through on our streets. The SW6 plan utilizes watershed storage technology already in use at The Pentagon and Houston’s Reliant Stadium.
Taking Action: Making it Happen
The SW6 concept is not just a dream. It is an action plan that lays out the steps to appraise the property, finance, and acquire the park land, establish a public process, and execute the vision for a greener, greater Hoboken. Hoboken Southwest Parks Coalition presented the city with documents that list the technologies, strategies, and professional resources to move the plan forward.
As the designated “redevelopment agency” for Hoboken, the City Council has special powers and authority to set the high standards in a redevelopment area. Rather than settle for what has been offered so far, SW6 takes a big picture view of how this diamond-in-the-rough can truly become Hoboken’s next great neighborhood.
Please pass this message along to your friends and neighbors!