The Hudson County Board of Freeholders announced last week that Weehawken will receive $500,000 in grant funding to add to $2.5 million in Green Acres grants from New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection to kick start the township’s Pier B Restoration Project.
The money will pay for construction of a recreational pier just north of the Chart House pier, and will give residents of upper Weehawken one more reason to visit the waterfront, said Mayor Richard Turner.
“We already have a beautiful waterfront with a recreational park [for] active recreation,” said Turner. “But this pier will enhance passive recreation. The views will be really fantastic and it will definitely encourage residents who live on the Palisades to come down and enjoy the water.”
“The views will be really fantastic and it will definitely encourage residents who live on the Palisades to come down and enjoy the water.” – Mayor Richard Turner
The freeholders awarded the township the funds as part of a larger $1.25 million grant from the county’s Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Office, given to North Bergen, Guttenberg, and Bayonne, in addition to Weehawken. The funding is all earmarked for waterfront recreation projects. The state awarded Weehawken the Green Acres funding in October.
Pier B has been in the works for almost 15 years, nearly as long as the rest of the township’s waterfront projects. It will stretch nearly 500 feet into the Hudson River, directly opposite the Empire State Building. It will have six “pods” connected by 10-foot-wide walkways, each designed for a specific use.
One will include a kayak dock (the dock itself will be completed at a later date), two will be used for educational purposes, one raised hexagonal pod will be a viewing station, and two others are specially designed for fishing. The pods range in size from 700 square feet to 2,500 square feet.
The restoration project marks a further step in a series of initiatives Turner has been working on throughout his administration. The intent is to capitalize on the township’s waterfront real estate to turn it into a private and public commercial and recreational area. Pier B will be the penultimate step in the project, the last being the construction of a pool complex and multi-purpose pavilion on five acres of property the town owns just north of its 10-acre recreational park.
“What’s great about our waterfront is that it shows how private and public can come together to create an area that is aesthetically beautiful and useful,” said Turner. “We’ve got two developers which have done a really nice job with the space they’re given, and we can take that revenue and create something that everyone can use.”
Hartz Mountain Industries owns the property stretching from the Sheraton Hotel up to Baldwin Avenue, while Roseland Properties (the group that built the recreational park) owns the area north of Baldwin Avenue.
“A lot of people who have lived in Weehawken their whole lives were never even able to get down to the water until the 1980s,” Turner said.
The pier is being referred to as “a restoration project” because Pier A, the pier that stood just adjacent to where Pier Bwill be built, was destroyed in a nor’easter decades ago. Asked whether or not any modifications were made to the pier’s designs following Hurricane Sandy, Turner noted that the pier will undergo rigorous flood testing throughout the construction project.
“We’re going to be getting Coast Guard approval,” said Turner. “We’re going to make sure it stays there.”
Dean DeChiaro may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org