The Hoboken City Council has voted unanimously in favor of pursuing initiatives at the Monarch Project and Union Dry Dock properties that would potentially lead to a contiguous public waterfront along the City’s Hudson River edge.
A packed house in City Hall heard appeal after appeal from concerned citizens on Wednesday night, urging the Council to vote for the measures and seize the opportunity to possibly see a decades-long vision realized.
The City of Hoboken recently announced it would pursue an agreement with Applied Development Company for the Monarch Property on the northern tip of Hoboken’s waterfront, where they had been planning to install two 11-story high rise residential buildings, in exchange for the chance to redevelop the Public Works Garage site downtown (256 Observer Highway).
“We worked cooperatively with Mayor Bhalla to come up with an agreement that makes sense for all parties involved, and we are optimistic that the settlement the City Council approved last night is the win-win scenario we have all been looking for,” said Michael Barry, president and CEO of Ironstate Development Company. “This is a detailed agreement that still requires a lot of work by a number of municipal departments to implement, and we all recognize that the ongoing litigation on this matter will continue during that time period, but we are encouraged that there is now a potential path to a resolution of this issue.”
Meanwhile, the Council back the first reading of an ordinance to make an offer to New York Waterway for the purchase of Union Dry Dock—acquiring it as park property through eminent domain, should there fail to be an agreement with the ferry company. The second reading to move forward with eminent domain for Union Dry Dock will take place on Wednesday, September 4.
“Hoboken is one critical step closer to preserving the Monarch site and Union Dry Dock for public parkland,” said Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “The overwhelming support from the public with over 8,000 combined petition signatures and unanimous approvals from the Council is clear indication that Hoboken is fully committed to a contiguous waterfront our children can enjoy for generations to come. I thank all of the members of the public for voicing their support at the Council meeting last night and appreciate the Council’s authorization on both waterfront initiatives. I am hopeful for a 9-0 vote on authorization for eminent domain on final reading, and am also confident Governor Murphy will support our position on Union Dry Dock.”
Second Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher expressed her gratitude to those involved in the effort. “Thank you to everyone who worked together to make this happen,” she said in a statement. “I could not be more proud to be your neighbor and be part of our special community.”
Fund For a Better Waterfront (FBW), which has been advocating on behalf of a contiguous public waterfront in Hoboken since 1990, has called these latest developments, “the moment(s) we’ve been waiting for.”
“The Governor’s failure to resolve the Union Dry Dock dispute—and there are a number of solutions/alternatives for siting this refueling/repair facility—leaves the City of Hoboken with no other option. The property needs to be taken by eminent domain to preserve it for the public’s use and to connect Hoboken’s public waterfront park at this critical location,” FBW’s Ron Hine recently told hMAG. “A resolution to the Monarch Towers dispute is finally in the works. The key is to work out a redeveloper’s agreement that will ensure sufficient funds are available to complete the park and walkway at this derelict site.”
In response to Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Hine says, “Last night, the public speakers demonstrated how invested our community has become in our waterfront park and most especially at the Hoboken Cove. A number of people stressed the importance of completing the 30 year old vision for a contiguous park at the river’s edge.”