Councilman Ruben Ramos: 4th of July and 4th Ward Updates!
I want to update you on a number of activities happening in the Fourth Ward.
Commercial Business District Expansion
Opening a business in Hoboken has not always been easy but working with my council colleagues we’ve made it a lot easier to open a new business by expanding our Commercial Business District the entire length of First Street and the east side of Jackson Street between 3rd and 7th. Allowing new permitted uses in these areas will help attract and diversify the types of businesses in our neighborhood. For example, a florist or a cafe can now open without going through the sometimes grueling zoning permit process. Hopefully, in the very near future there will be new businesses sprouting up in our ward.
Commissioning New Southwest Traffic Study
As we all know traffic in Hoboken is not always easy to navigate. Three years ago we commissioned a traffic study with the goal of opening new arteries and adding traffic signals to help the flow of traffic. While that plan has had a positive impact on traffic it didn’t go far enough. Our new traffic study will not only collect data on Hoboken streets but neighboring Hudson County and Jersey City roads as well. The goal of this study is to have all three governments working towards the same goal of creating a more efficient traffic pattern and also connecting Jersey City Heights to Downtown Jersey City so drivers no longer use Hoboken roads as a pass through.
PSE&G Tree Replacement/System Upgrades
We have reached the end of tree planting season and to date PSE&G has planted 37 new trees. Persistent rain slowed the planting down and PSE&G fell 3 trees short of the original goal of 40 new trees planted. However, they will continue to plant new trees once the fall planting season starts.
Community Development Block Grant Funding
Every year the City of Hoboken awards Federal Funding to a variety of nonprofit agencies that service Hoboken residents. The largest grant was given to the Hoboken Housing Authority for replacement of boilers throughout their properties. This award will help the HHA dedicate more funding to other daily maintenance projects as opposed to constantly fixing boilers that are in severe cases of disrepair.
New Park Opening
The new resiliency park at 7th and Jackson streets opened on Saturday, June 29th. The new park features playground equipment, one acre of open lawn space, a new gym with a basketball court and resiliency infrastructure to capture more than 450,000 gallons of rainwater to help reduce flooding primarily across the western side of Hoboken. Additionally, the park will soon benefit from shade structures that are being re-deployed from the “Pop-up” park as preparations for the construction of the new Northwest Park on that site begin.
Update on Abandoned Property
As we all know the Zaklama property on 1st & Jackson has been an eyesore for a number of years. In January the Hoboken City Council adopted a resolution to hire an engineering firm to inspect the property. However, for the firm to gain access to the property we had to receive An Order To Show Cause from the courts which were granted on July 2, 2019. If upon inspection the property is deemed unsafe we set aside funding in our municipal budget to demolish the remaining structure. The City will be entitled to recoup any expenses on demolition once IRS and Zaklama Estate reach an agreement. Thank you for patience this has been a long time coming and we will continue to work until the issue is resolved.
New Suez Contract and Water Utility
On July 1st, the city’s new water contract with Suez went into effect which includes a new water utility. Last fall our relationship with Suez was fragile after multiple water main breaks and traffic nightmares triggered by Suez’s work in SW Hoboken. I reached out to Suez and demanded that we all get in a room and figure out a better way forward for all parties. And that is exactly what we did. With the leadership of my colleagues on the City Council Infrastructure Subcommittee working closely with the Administration and specifically our director of Environmental Services Jennifer Gonzalez, we agreed a new contract that provides $33 million more in revenues to Hoboken for the needed upgrades to our water system which will reduce future disruptions and save taxpayers from having to pay for these repairs.
Thank you for your continued input and advocacy. Please share this with everyone you think might be interested in or affected by this information. And don’t hesitate to reach out to me at any time to discuss this or any matter that is important to you. Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July weekend!
Hoboken City Council, 4th Ward