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June, 2018

Mayor Bhalla Suspends Suez Water Project, Calls Impact “Unacceptable”

Leading up to last weekend’s construction project, we anticipated some challenges with traffic. Despite the best efforts of the Hoboken Police Department, what occurred was unacceptable and spoke to how unprepared other stakeholders were in implementing their traffic control procedures.

As I stated on Monday, I gave Suez Water until 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning to present to me a new plan that would prevent the traffic problems that occurred last weekend, including credible assurances that other jurisdictions would perform their duties in directing traffic.

The plan they presented me with this morning was unacceptable and left me with no confidence that preparations are in place for a responsible traffic control plan this weekend, leading up to the Independence Day holiday.

Accordingly, I have directed that this project be shut down, effective immediately and until further notice. Because of this decision, the exit from and entry to Hoboken from Jersey Avenue will be now open over the weekend, and residents will have all exit and entry roads in the southwest area of Hoboken available for their use this holiday weekend.

My first priority as Mayor is to the safety and well-being of the residents of Hoboken. Until Suez can credibly establish that they are taking our concerns seriously, this project will be placed on hold. Due to the nature of this project, the delays caused will have no negative impact on Hoboken’s water service.

Mayor Bhalla Signs Executive Order to Fund Public Art

In a surprise announcement at the Waterfront Arts Gala on Monday evening, Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla signed an executive order to help fund public art installations throughout the city.
 
The order declares that all city bond ordinances shall be drafted to include a provision dedicating one percent towards public art installations. This is meant to revitalize neighborhoods, promote economic prosperity, and improve the physical and psychological well-being of residents.
 
“Art is a fundamental part of improving quality of life, but it’s too often an afterthought,” said Bhalla. “My Administration is committed to not only keep public arts projects funded, but on the forefront of my agenda as Mayor. I’m also proud to say Hoboken is one of the first municipalities in our state to adopt a ‘percent for art’ policy, and I encourage other municipalities to also invest in the arts.”
 
The first implementation of the order will be an interactive sculpture at Southwest Park, which will be financed by the next bond ordinance. A community meeting on the sculpture will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 28 at the Southwest Park Terrance.
 
Based on the amount the City bonds on an annual basis, the effect is significant. For context, had this executive order been in place in 2017, the City would have allocated nearly $200,000 towards the public arts trust.
 
The executive order was signed during the inaugural Waterfront Arts Gala, which raised funds for Hoboken’s Cultural Affairs department. The brand-new event was a stellar success thanks to organizing by Cultural Affairs Administrator Geri Fallo. Ticket sales and donations from the sold-out event brought in more than $15,000 for the Cultural Affairs department. The department does not receive funding from the city’s budget and relies on fundraisers, such as the Gala, to finance year-round cultural and arts events.

Statement from Mayor Bhalla on Weekend Traffic Issues

On Saturday, I became aware of serious traffic issues in southwest Hoboken, as a result an underground water meter improvement project by Suez Water. I was extremely frustrated, as I know many of you were, with the congestion.

First, I would like to commend the Hoboken Police Department for going above and beyond in mitigating the traffic issues to the best of their abilities. Unfortunately, other jurisdictions fell far short on their obligations to public safety, which caused the incredibly frustrating backups.

First thing Monday morning, I met with all of Hoboken’s internal stakeholders, including Business Administrator Stephen Marks, City Construction Manager Peter Balnius, City Engineer Kimberli Craft, Transportation and Parking Director Ryan Sharp, OEM Coordinator Sgt. William Montanez, Sgt. Christopher LaBruno, Lt. James Marnell, Deputy Chief of Staff Jason Freeman, and Communications Manager Santiago Melli-Huber.

Our goal was to address the future impact of this project, which is scheduled to take place over the next several weekends. What happened this past weekend is simply not acceptable, and I made that clear to Suez Water in no uncertain terms.

To that end, I’ve given Suez by Wednesday at 9 a.m. to present to me a traffic management plan that will ease the pain for Hoboken residents and visitors. If their plan is not acceptable, I am prepared to shut down their project to protect the safety and welfare of Hoboken residents. 

My ultimate priority is the safety and well-being of Hoboken residents and I will do everything in my power to make sure that what happened this past weekend, does not happen again.  If there are any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to my office.

City Seeks Input for Temporary Dog Run

The City of Hoboken is conducting a public survey in order to understand the need for a temporary dog run at 1500 Harborside Park, Hoboken NJ. This area will be redesigned in the near future, but the city is considering building a temporary dog park on the Western portion of the Harborside Park.

Currently dogs are not allowed in this park. However, people regularly bring their dogs in, and the surface of the park is getting worn down. The temporary dog park will provide another option for dog owners and make the area more aesthetically pleasing.

The survey will be opened until end of day July 13th.

The City has also compiled the results of a recent dog run survey for a dog run at 2nd and Hudson. Those results are visible in the below graphics.

Community Invited to Meetings on Northwest Resiliency Park Design and Southwest Park Sculpture

Residents are invited to attend a community meeting to discuss further development of the Northwest Resiliency Park concept design, pictured below, on June 27, 2018 from 7pm to 9pm at the Wallace School Cafeteria, 1100 Willow Avenue (enter on 11th Street between Willow Avenue and Clinton Street). At this meeting, the design team will provide an update on the concept design progress and traffic study, as well as gather community feedback on certain design features.

The City of Hoboken is also seeking public input to guide next steps for providing an interactive sculpture on the Hoboken Southwest Park lawn.  A community meeting will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on June 28, 2018 at the Southwest Park Terrace. In the event of rain, the meeting will be held at the Multi Service Center. The purpose of this meeting is to gather feedback from residents on how and whether to proceed with an interactive sculpture on the Hoboken Southwest Park lawn.  No formal action will be taken.

On April 9, 2018, community members joined the project team at the Wallace School to review the proposed concept design for the Northwest Resiliency Park. The design team used community feedback from this meeting to improve the concept design, which was presented to and approved by the City Council at their public meeting on April 18, 2018.

The concept design was developed through a community planning process, which is summarized in the Design Alternatives and Analysis Report, available at: www.hobokennj.gov/nwpark.

For more information on the concept design and community planning process for the Northwest Resiliency Park, visit: www.hobokennj.gov/nwpark.

Hoboken Southwest Park opened to the public in September 2017, simultaneously providing much needed open space to the underserved southwest corner of the City and functioning as a detention system capable of capturing 200,000 gallons of stormwater. Southwest Park was awarded the Jersey Water Works’ One Water Award in 2017, as well as the United States Green Building Council New Jersey Chapter Award for Innovation and Sustainability Best Practices Award in 2018, both in the Public Projects category.

Mayor Bhalla Launches Homelessness Task Force

Hoboken Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla announced Thursday the formation of a task force to tackle homelessness in Hoboken, focusing on addressing the factors that cause homelessness. The task force will present its plans to the public later this summer.

“It’s simply not enough to feed and house a person one night at a time,” said Bhalla. “We need to look at giving people the resources they need to stay off the streets long-term. That means access to proper mental and physical health care, education and job training, access to good-paying jobs, affordable housing, and more.”

The task force, which is committed to developing comprehensive strategies for Hoboken’s homeless community and ensuring the quality of life for Hoboken residents, is comprised of:

  • Chief of Staff John Allen
  • Deputy Chief of Staff Jason Freeman
  • Constituent Affairs Chief Caroline Caulfield
  • Community Development Director Brandy Forbes
  • Health and Human Services Director Leo Pellegrini
  • Police Chief Ken Ferrante
  • Lieutenant John Orrico
  • and Principal Planner Chris Brown

The task force will be partnering with the following local organizations:

  • Hoboken Faith Community
  • The Hoboken Shelter
  • Hudson County Housing and Community Development
  • CarePoint Health
  • United Way of Hudson County
  • and Hudson Pride Center

“We are grateful that the City of Hoboken will be expending such significant energy and resources towards the challenge of homelessness in Hoboken,” said Rabbi Robert Scheinberg of the United Synagogue of Hoboken and chair of the Hoboken Clergy Coalition. “Homelessness in Hoboken has a wide variety of causes and should be addressed through a wide variety of initiatives and through collaborations with many partner organizations, in support of our goals of compassionately helping people to move off of the streets into safer environments, and giving them the various kinds of support they need to live independently.”

“CarePoint is honored to work with the City of Hoboken as part of the homelessness task force and we commend Mayor Bhalla for his leadership on this issue,” said Randy Minniear, Executive Vice President for External Affairs for CarePoint Health.  “Our team currently works with The Hoboken Shelter to provide regular health screenings for their residents, and we view this as an opportunity to expand on that outreach and develop a comprehensive strategy to find real solutions to address homelessness in our community.”

“Hudson Pride Center is proud to join the Hoboken Homelessness Task Force,” said Hudson Pride Center CEO Michael Billy. “The LGBTQ+ Community, especially our youth, face homelessness at an alarming rate. Additionally, our homeless community members have a difficult time finding shelters that both accept and respect gender identity or gender sexuality. We will be joining the task force to ensure those issues are addressed. We understand the importance of task forces like this and how they become instrumental in informing the city’s next steps for preventing and ending homelessness in Hoboken.”

Second Public Hearing on Master Plan Final Drafts

The Planning Board will hold a second public hearing to consider the finalized 2018 Hoboken Master Plan Reexamination Report and 2018 Land Use Element at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 25 at the Multi-Service Center, located at 124 Grand Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030.   

The City of Hoboken would like to thank all of the residents and stakeholders that came out to the June 11 Public Hearing of the Planning Board to voice their comments on the draft 2018 Master Plan Reexamination Report and draft 2018 Land Use Element. BFJ Planning, the City’s Planning Consultant on this project, gave a detailed presentation describing the nearly year-long planning process and major components of each plan. Immediately following this presentation, meeting attendees lined up to offer their comments. 

Following the June 11 public hearing, the draft plans have been updated and revised and are available for public review here: http://masterplan-cityofhoboken.opendata.arcgis.comRevisions to the plans since the June 11th public hearing are highlighted throughout the documents so that changes are easy to locate.

At the June 25th public hearing, the Planning Board will present a summary of the changes that were made to the Draft Plans. Meeting attendees will then be invited to offer comments on those changes.

Mayor Bhalla Recognizes 2018 Hoboken Green Businesses

At the 7th Annual Green Fair Mayor Bhalla recognized the following businesses as 2018 Hoboken Green Businesses:

  • Aether Game Café
  • Avocado Green Mattress
  • Bareburger of Hoboken
  • Carpathian Industries
  • Choc O Pain French Bakery & Café of Hoboken
  • Christina Andersen Floral Design
  • Hoby Dogy Pet Care
  • Little City Books
  • Mint Market
  • My Conscience, My Choice LLC
  • Nurturing Life Acupuncture & Wellness PA
  • Organic Basic Food LLC
  • Pilsener Haus & Biergarten
  • Simply Juiced
  • Smushed Organics
  • Sobsey’s Produce (soon to be Ma’s Gourmet Market)
  • Sports Acupuncture & Family Wellness
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • The Little Grocery Uptown
  • Urban Consign & Design

“As we all know, environmental protection is key to Hoboken’s protection from the effects of climate change,” said Bhalla. “I’m proud of each one of these businesses for doing their part to ensure Hoboken’s future.”

The Hoboken Green Team launched the Green Business Recognition Program in 2017 to distinguish local businesses that are advancing sustainability and environmental responsibility. In order to qualify for the Green Business Recognition Program, 25 businesses completed the Green Business Pledge on the Hoboken Green Team website. The Hoboken Green Team reviewed each pledge submission and determined that 20 businesses qualify for recognition as 2018 Hoboken Green Businesses.

To learn more about these Green Businesses, visit http://hobokennj.gov/greenteam/greenbusinesses/.

Mayor Bhalla (bottom left) and Councilman Jim Doyle (top left) with representatives of some of the 2018 Green Businesses.

For more information about the Hoboken Green Business Recognition Program, please visit www.hobokennj.gov/greenteam, follow the Green Team on Facebook @HobokenGreenTeam and on Instagram @Hoboken_Green.

Hoboken Residents Sound Off On New York Waterway’s Plans For The Waterfront

Hoboken residents are worried about New York Waterway’s plans for the Union Dry Dock property, and they’re making their voices heard in a new video.

They’re encouraging their fellow residents to speak out about the negative impacts of having a ferry repair and refueling station right next to children’s playgrounds and homes. Their simple message: Help us, Governor Murphy.

The Army Corps of Engineers will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, July 18 from 6-9 p.m. in the DeBaun Auditorium at Stevens Institute (24 5th Street). The hearing is a chance for the public to express their views on New York Waterway’s permit application to turn the Union Dry Dock property into a diesel depot.

Residents can also contact Governor Murphy’s office at (609) 292-6000 and ask him to help. New Jersey Transit had previously planned to buy the property and lease it to New York Waterway in an attempt to block Hoboken from purchasing the land at market value through the open process of eminent domain.


Donate here to help us spread the word about the need to save our waterfront!

Hoboken Green Team to Host 7th Annual Green Fair on Saturday

The City of Hoboken Green Team will host the 7th Annual Green Fair on Saturday, June 16, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Church Square Park.
 
The event will feature more than 30 vendors of eco-friendly wares and organic food, plus live music. It is intended to introduce sustainable lifestyle choices to the community, raise awareness regarding environmental issues, and demonstrate how consumers can reduce their impact on the earth by selecting sustainable products and services.
 
Mayor Bhalla will recognize 20 local businesses as 2018 Hoboken Green Businesses at 1:00 p.m. at the Church Square Park Gazebo.
 
GreenDrop will collect gently used clothing, toys, sports equipment, and household items to donate to the American Red Cross. Look for the GreenDrop truck parked on 5th Street in front of the Hoboken Public Library. For more information on what items can be donated, visit www.gogreendrop.com.