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County: City has option yet on park extension application

Adding another wrinkle to a politically charged arena of a $3 million county grant to Hoboken for a park, additional details surrounding its appropriation remain open for an extension with a meeting of the County’s Open Space Advisory Board next week, leaving the door ajar for the Southwest.

Based on the existing master plan and other documents on file for a Southwest park, the County will permit the city to present a specific plan to utilize funds not spent in an original three year grant.

Originally three grants were appropriated by the County for Hoboken but the three year expiration is approaching and a progress report from the city is due to the County today.

Steven Marks, a planner for Hudson County stated Hoboken will submit their progress report and present their plan in person to the County’s Open Space Advisory Board on July 27th in Jersey City

“As long as the project fits the criteria,” Steven Marks noted, the County does not involve itself in local aspects where eminent domain may be applied.  “The problem is if an applicant has it for 36 months, and does nothing and wants a year extension, they need to show where it’s going.”

Grants are good for 36 months and Hoboken originally had three grants earmarked toward the Cognos site.  As this was not in the immediate future, the door was open to another project to reprogram the funds.

“We gave the opportunity to reprogram to a different project that met the criteria of the referendum (Open Space)… There’s plenty of planning documents calling for the creation of a new project in the Southwest.  Each are eligible and compelling,” Marks detailed.

But if Hoboken presents its case for the Southwest at the July 27th meeting can it answer the questions to meet the guidelines for a one year extension?

“The county wants to see the money can be reasonably spent in 12 months, then fine,” Marks stated. He indicated the questions and answers arising in the reprogrammed application will be specifically addressed at Wednesday’s hearing to be held at the Lincoln Park Administration Building sometime between 10:00 and 3:00.

The City will be submitting its report to the County later today.

Councilman Dave Mello voted for eminent domain and may see it in play.
It’s an open question if the County’s extension of the original three year grant will be directed to
an eligible Southwest plan.  A County Advisory Board meeting is set for July 27th on the matter.

Talking Ed Note: The mayor was clearly serious about the linkage toward the grant and eminent domain.  While the progress report will be sent today, the fallback position of Sinatra Park is not on the table with last night’s 5-4 vote for eminent domain in the Southwest.

How that plays out with the County’s advisory board next week is the open question.

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