The plan to build a flood wall in Hoboken has met a wall of its own, as residents gathered last night vehemently objecting to the idea of potentially unsightly waterfront infrastructure proposed in the City of Hoboken’s Rebuild By Design initiative.
Rebuild By Design sought to develop ideas improving physical, ecological, economic, and social resilience in regions affected by Superstorm Sandy. With a plan hinged upon Resist, Delay, Store and Discharge concepts—aimed at reducing frequent flooding due to storm surge, high tide, and heavy rainfall—the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $230 million to the State of New Jersey for the Project in the municipalities of Hoboken, Weehawken, and Jersey City.
It’s the Resist concept that is getting the most resistance here in Hoboken.
According to NBC New York, a crowd of hundreds assembled at the Hoboken Historical Museum for a presentation of the plan’s proposed implementation. Mayor Zimmer addressed the crowd, reiterating the devastation in the immediate aftermath of Sandy and reminding residents that the plan is in its evolution, although the funds are essentially based on tenets of that plan.
The attendees, however, were none too receptive to any idea that includes a wall obstructing the waterfront view and compromising uptown Hoboken’s overall aesthetics.
“Our street is the most desirable street in Hoboken, a tree-lined street with historical buildings on it,” Garden Street resident Debbie Olita told NBC New York. “It’s the most desirable in town.”
Another resident likened the Rebuild By Design flood walls—positioned to stem the breach of the Hudson River in the event of a storm surge—to imposing border infrastructure in zones of conflict. “I come from the Middle East so I know how it is to live next to a wall. This is completely not pleasant,” said Amihai Zelzer. “I can’t see that happening in America. We need to find another solution.”
The backlash to the protective initiative has prompted the organization of SOS (Save Our Streets) —”an open community forum for Hoboken residents who oppose the hasty actions of the stormwalls to be built in our town.” Meanwhile, City Councilmen Mike Russo and Ruben Ramos penned a letter proposing a greater focus on existing infrastructure.
Further meetings will take place December 15th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm at St. Lawrence Church Community Room (22 Hackensack Ave., Weehawken) and December 17th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
at the Hoboken Housing Authority Senior Building (221 Jackson St., Hoboken).