Pier A is the crown jewel of Hoboken’s Waterfront. Located just north of the NJT/PATH stations, the former shipping pier was converted to a park in 1999.
Unfortunately, structural issues are now rearing their head and, as is all too often the case here in Hoboken, a hot-potato debate is underway regarding who should foot the bill.
“Pier A was constructed by the Port Authority. Possibly due to construction issues, the steel pilings are not properly coated to the mudline, causing various levels of degradation to occur on over 1,000 steel pilings,” said Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, in a statement to the press. “This issue was discovered when the City conducted an evaluation of our entire waterfront after the collapse of Sinatra Park. Funding for the maintenance of Pier A and the waterfront are provided by an account established by a 1994 agreement between the Port Authority and the City. The account funds are managed by the South Waterfront Board consisting of the Port Authority, the City of Hoboken and the developers (Applied, SJP, and Mack-Cali). That account now receives $1 million annually from the developers as part of the obligation of the developers to ‘give back’ to the community in exchange for the development rights that were provided in Hoboken.”
According to the Mayor, the Port Authority have been reluctant to maintain their end of the bargain.
“The Port Authority’s failure to participate in the process has occurred despite my direct discussions with Port Authority Executive Director Foye. As a public agency, the Port Authority has a fiduciary responsibility to represent the public’s interests in its capacity as a member of the board,” says Zimmer. “Sadly, their failure to participate has created a deadlock much to the detriment of the public that they serve.”
The Pier has been host to numerous high-profile, highly attended events—including concerts by Mumford & Sons and Bob Dylan. Events like those and the very existence of the park are likely in jeopardy unless the situation can be resolved.
Tonight’s Hoboken City Council meeting agenda includes a bond and a $5.3 million contract to fund the repairs needed for the substructure of Pier A.
“Since residents, visitors, and the business community benefit from our waterfront park throughout the year, it is important that these repairs are completed to ensure that Pier A can be enjoyed for years to come,” says Zimmer. “The City will continue to work in good faith to engage the Port Authority and the other members of the board negotiate a fair agreement to pay for the repairs to Pier A. If no agreement can be reached, the City will pursue all appropriate legal options to protect the infrastructure and financial interests of the City of Hoboken.”