Mayor Zimmer: “We now own an acre” for first part of a larger Southwest Park

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Tuesday October 8, 2013

City of Hoboken

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Community: City of Hoboken Acquires Property For Southwest Park

The City of Hoboken has acquired a nearly one acre property as the first major installment of a new Southwest Park.

“I fought for a long time for a Southwest Park, and I’m excited to announce that we now own an acre of property for the first part of a larger park that we will expand through the redevelopment process,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “I look forward to immediately kicking off the planning process so we can design and build the first phase of this much-deserved park that reflects the community’s vision for this neighborhood. I thank County Executive DeGise, Freeholder Romano, and the Hudson County Freeholders for their funding support of this project.”

As part of a comprehensive resiliency and readiness strategy to protect the neighborhood from flooding, the City has received a $500,000 technical assistance grant to incorporate sustainable flood mitigation strategies, including underground water detention systems, into a new Southwest Park.

The City has hired Starr Whitehouse, a landscape architecture and planning firm with expertise in parks design and green infrastructure for stormwater management, to lead the planning process for the Southwest Park. Community meetings will be announced shortly. Residents are invited to complete a survey available online at

“This is a great day for so many friends and neighbors, past and present, who have long advocated for a park in our Southwest neighborhood,” added Councilman David Mello, Chair of the Community Development committee. “This initial acquisition will serve as a cornerstone of a larger Southwest Park. The Mayor and I have both worked hard to begin realizing the dream of a Southwest Park, and this open space purchase should serve as the first of many western Hoboken land acquisitions.”

Today, the transfer of title was completed for Block 12, a property bounded by Jackson Street, Observer Highway, Harrison Street, and Paterson Avenue. The Southwest Area has been designated an Area in Need of Rehabilitation, and the City intends to substantially expand the park through the Rehabilitation process.

Funding to purchase the property was provided from a $3 million Hudson County Open Space grant. Although the City has deposited its offer amount of $2.937 million with the court, the final value will be established by an independent three-member commission appointed by a State Superior Court judge.

Talking Ed Note: Next is the planning and implementation phase for the Southwest’s first large sized public park, a long held dream by Mayor Dawn Zimmer and local park advocates.
It was blocked whenever possible by the mayor’s staunch opposition: Beth Mason, Michael Russo, Terry Castellano and Timmy Occhipinti but with Castellano out at the previous meeting, there no longer was enough votes available to stop the Southwest Park.
Occhipinti had attempted to have far smaller pocket parks purchased taking most of the grant monies used in the purchase of this one acre property.  He voted against the Southwest Park only agreeing to vote for it in the end when passage was set to occur no matter how he voted by the reform council members: Dave Mello, Ravi Bhalla, Peter Cunningham and Jen Giattino.
Was blocking a Southwest Park an act of humanitarianism?  

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