On a day when the city is getting absolutely pummeled by torrential rains, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer held a press conference to reveal three new alternative plans for the contentious Rebuild By Design initiative.
Joined by Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, and Dennis Reinknercht, Rebuild by Design project manager for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Mayor Zimmer once again made the case for proactive flood defense in our region—parts of which sit at or below sea level.
“The threat is real,” said Zimmer, referencing the 500 million gallons of water that Superstorm Sandy brought into Hoboken in October of 2012. “It was a disaster for our city.”
Yet plans for Hoboken flood mitigation have been under serious scrutiny from those living in the Mile Square City who are concerned that sea walls and other barriers will negatively impact the waterfront city’s appeal.
We’ve received a lot of comment from the community,” said NJDEP’s Reinknercht. “These alternatives reflect significant changes based on that input.”
Alternative #1 calls for substantial sea walls along the waterfront. Alternative #2 is more of an inland plan utilizing walls on upper Washington Street, while Alternative #3 calls for lower walls and berms on private and public lands that would serve to insulate most of the city from another Sandy.
CLICK HERE for detailed breakdowns of each individual plan
Mayor Zimmer underscored the need to explore a variety of options, in order to meet the criteria of Rebuild By Design, which currently has a budget of $230 million to see a plan put into place under a specific timeframe.
Weehawken Mayor Turner spoke frankly on the proposed plans, explaining that, “Alternative #1 is obviously the least favorable.” He also noted that, “time is of the essence,” when it comes to deciding on a plan to execute. “The clock is ticking, as there’s a need all over the east coast for this type of spending.”
Also on hand were Hoboken City Council Member Ravi Bhalla and Urban Planning specialist Carter Craft.
Meanwhile, Commander John Carey, of Hoboken American Legion Post 107 relayed his story of the devastation Sandy that inflicted upon the Post. Of Rebuild By Design, Carey said, “What’s nice about these plans is they’re not Band-Aids—but they’re not tourniquets either,” adding, “we’d be crazy not to take this opportunity.”
Ray Guzman saw his business significantly damaged by Sandy. “No one thought it would actually hit us, until it did.” As for addressing future Sandys, Guzman feels, “We need to have something happen.”
With our region under constant threat from flooding, decisions will be made soon. A meeting will be held this Thursday, February 18, 2016 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at the Wallace School gymnasium, located at 1100 Willow Avenue in Hoboken.