Hoboken to consider acquiring southwest parkland through eminent domain
In a nixle alert to the community, Mayor Ravi Bhalla said he will consider acquiring additional parkland for the Southwest Park through eminent domain if amicable terms cannot be met with the property owner, Academy Bus.
The city wants to acquire block 10 owned by Academy Bus for the park.
Bhalla said he met with the company’s representatives last week. At the meeting, Academy Bus presented a proposal to build out the park “for free” for the city, in exchange for “massive overdevelopment” with 439 units, which is more than the 192 currently allowed in the approved Southwest Redevelopment Plan, noting that southwest Hoboken is the “most traffic congested area of Hoboken.”
He said the proposal is a “non-starter” and “if terms of acquisition cannot be agreed upon, I am prepared to exercise a condemnation action to acquire the property as authorized by the City Council in 2017.”
He said he will do so as a last resort if more amicable terms for acquisition cannot be negotiated.
In a letter dated June 25 addressed to David Lehmkuhl of Academy Bus, he said they discussed the city’s most recent offer to purchase the property for $5.3 million based on the city’s appraisal conducted by Federal Appraisal LLC and that Lehmkuhl “expressed a willingness” to reach an agreement at a lower amount then $21.8 million based on Academy’s appraisal report and would provide a counter offer in the next 30 to 60 days.
Hoboken scooter referendum nixed
On Thursday, June 27, the city council voted against an introductory ordinance that would have added an additional referendum on the November 5 municipal ballot regarding scooters.
The referendum sponsored by Councilpeople Jim Doyle and Emily Jabbour would have asked voters if the city should allow e-scooter sharing entities to operate within the city.
This comes after the city launched a six-month e-scooter sharing pilot program which is due to end in October. It has roughly 300 Lime and Ojo scooters.
Since the program launched some council members and members of the public have expressed concerns with safety and enforcement and Mayor Ravi Bhalla supported the referendum.
“This is clearly a very polarizing and challenging issue for Hoboken, and I think it is important for the mayor and City Council, to listen to the voices of the public before making such a consequential decision,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “Placing this on the ballot in November as a nonbinding public question is a democratic means of assessing support for the program and making an educated decision regarding its future.”
According to a press release from Lime, it reached its 100,000 ride in Hoboken last week.
According to the press release from the company which conducted a survey of its Hoboken users, nearly a third of all respondents, 28.3 percent, say they would have driven or taken a ride-sharing service for their most recent trip if a scooter was not available.
The survey was conducted by Lime over a three-day period between June 12 and 14 and received 468 responses. Seventy-one percent of users said that they took scooters to or from public transit in the last month, and 66 percent of users say they have not ridden a bike in the past month.
The survey found that nearly 90 percent of respondents said they ride scooters primarily on the street. Ninety percent of respondents said they would be less likely to ride on sidewalks if the city had protected bike lanes. Only four percent of respondents said they would have biked instead of ridden a scooter, and 30 percent of riders said they use them to get to work or school.
Hoboken’s newest park opened last weekend
Hoboken opened the 7th and Jackson Park to the public on Saturday, June 29 at 10 a.m. with a ribbon cutting.
The park includes an indoor gymnasium and outdoor playground.
The two-acre park was constructed as part of a pilot agreement with the 700 Jackson Street development project.
The project will provide roughly 30,000 square feet of retail space, an onsite parking garage, and more than 400 residential units.
Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher announces re-election campaign
Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher announced her re-election campaign to serve as the Second Ward Representative on the city council last week.
Fisher has served on the council for the past three and a half years.
“Four years ago, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and run for city council because I believed my professional finance and real estate background would be valuable to address some of the biggest challenges Hoboken faces,” she said. “By working together, we have already been able to make a positive impact on Hoboken, and our track record speaks for itself. We have kept Hoboken on a fiscally responsible path by cutting out wasteful spending, our water system is receiving much needed upgrades through thoughtful and financially beneficial negotiations, and we are on our way to completing the award winning Rebuild By Design resiliency project. While I am incredibly proud of these accomplishments there is still so much to be done to build a better Hoboken for all of us, which is why I am running for city council again to continue the progress we’ve made.”
Fisher will officially kick off her re-election bid at Madison Bar and Grill on July 15.
Party With Purpose to hold 5K run
Party With Purpose’s annual 5K, Kids Fun Run, and After Party will take place on Tuesday, July 16.
Party With Purpose is a volunteer-based nonprofit in Hoboken which raises funds mainly for local children’s charities by hosting various events throughout the year.
The kids’ run is at 3 p.m. on Pier A in Hoboken and is free and open for any local children to join. There will be activities, pizza, and Ben and Jerry’s for all who participate.
The 5K is at 7 p.m. on Pier A and is immediately followed by an after party overlooking the New York City skyline during which a local cover band, The Counterfeiters, will provide entertainment. Food trucks, beer, and wine will be available.
Entry to the after party is free for runners and $5 for anyone else who wants to attend.
To register to run go to http://www.partywithpurpose.org/events/2019hoboken5k/
Jaclyn Fulop, co-founder of Exchange Physical Therapy Group was appointed this month to the New Jersey Board of Physical Therapy Examiners by Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Senate. Mrs. Fulop, the wife of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, will serve a three-year term on the prestigious, advisory and licensing board for the NJ physical therapy profession.
JC to form Shade Tree Committee
The city council introduced an ordinance on June 25 sponsored by Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey to create an environmentally friendly and responsible Shade Tree Committee tasked with expanding and maintaining tree stock throughout Jersey City.
The planting of hundreds of trees will not only be for beautification purposes, but will also improve water retention, reduce storm water runoff, and maintain biodiversity throughout the region.
“The benefits of having thousands of healthy trees in any community are endless,” Mayor Fulop said. “But like any great natural resource, smart planning for it only ensures its growth and success into the future. This is another example of community members working with the city combining strengths, professional experience and concerns to solve multiple issues and plan for future generations to benefit.”
The ordinance authorizes a seven-member committee of city staff members, community members, tree professionals, the City Environmental Commission, a city council member, and a member of the Jersey City Parks Coalition.
Jersey City has also recently acquired two new foresters to work in conjunction with the committee detailing tree planting and removal standards, preserving the tree infrastructure, revising the landscape to consider environmental and physical stresses, among other aspects to enhance the city’s overall tree canopy.
Interns graduate from JCMC internship program
Jersey City Medical Center’s inaugural class of interns of Project SEARCH, a program for students with disabilities in their last year of high school, were recognized during a graduation ceremony last week. Eleven students completed the program. Six interned at JCMC which allowed students firsthand experience in a hospital setting to explore career options, develop transferable job skills, and successfully transition to productive adult life. Michael Prilutsky, President and CEO of JCMC, presided over the ceremony, with additional remarks provided by program partners.
“Jersey City Medical Center is proud of the achievements and contributions of our Project SEARCH interns,” said Michael Prilutsky. “We look forward to continuing to create opportunities for young people in our community to succeed.”
Job placement is the final goal of the program. Recent graduates are currently being considered for positions within the hospital and at program partner locations.
Red Cross seeks to prevent summer blood shortage
The American Red Cross needs blood donors to help prevent delays in medical care this summer.
To draw attention that blood types sometimes do go missing from hospital shelves, A, B, and O began disappearing on June 11 from iconic brand logos, social media pages, signs and websites as part of the Missing Types campaign. The campaign is raising awareness of the need for more blood donors.
While thousands of blood donors have answered the call to fill the missing blood types, more donors are needed now to help ensure patients don’t have to wait for blood products. During the summer, especially around holidays like Independence Day, donations often don’t keep pace with patient needs. The Red Cross is thanking all those who come to donate July 1-6 with an exclusive Red Cross Missing Types T-shirt, while supplies last.
People can donate in Jersey City at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 2 Exchange Pl. on July 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. They can also donate in Bayonne at the Grace Lutheran Church, 836 Avenue C on July 11, from 3 to 8 p.m. or at The Catholic War Veterans Post 1612 18 W. 23 rd St. from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
House passed transportation funding bill
Representative Albio Sires (D-NJ) issued the following statement regarding the House of Representatives passing an appropriations bill that will help transportation and infrastructure issues in New Jersey:
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3055, a government funding bill that includes appropriations for the Department of Transportation and its related agencies.
“At our request, the bill includes robust funding for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program, which assists large infrastructure projects like Gateway; and more funding for Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair grants which helps funds projects to repair, replace, or upgrade intercity passenger rail assets. These are grants that the Gateway Project can draw from once it is approved for federal financial assistance by the government,” Sires said.
The final bill also includes language that removes an administrative roadblock specific to the Gateway Project. The roadblock deals with the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program. Current law is just ambiguous enough that it allows the Trump Administration to insist that TIFIA loans must be counted as part of the government’s investment in an infrastructure project, even if project sponsors repay the loans with non-federal money. This logic has been used to pick and choose which projects count as being “over-reliant” on federal assistance, in spite of the fact that project sponsors must prove creditworthiness to qualify for TIFIA loans.
The House passed H.R. 3055 by a vote of 227 to 194. The bill is now awaiting review in the Senate.
Movies under the stars
Hudson County’s free Movies in the Park series will offer plenty of viewings in Braddock Park through July and August. Movies will be screened on the Braddock Park field located adjacent to Boulevard East above 79th Street. All movies are free, with plenty of free popcorn. All attendees need to bring is a blanket or a lawn chair. Movies start at sundown.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” will be screened on Wednesday, July 17, followed by “Aquaman” on Wednesday, Aug. 14.
Movies in the Park will run through August, and bring 16 feature films to eight parks throughout Hudson County. The full schedule can be found at hudsoncountynj.org.
Farmer’s Markets coming to North Bergen
The Braddock Park Farmer’s Market has returned, every Sunday until Sept. 29 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This year a second farmer’s market comes to town, the Friends and Family Farmer’s Market, run by the North Bergen Health Department on the last Saturday of every month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the recreation center.
The Friends and Family Farmer’s Market was made possible by a $20,000 grant from the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network program. There will be fresh produce, health education, wellness promotion, and Zumba lessons available. The goal is to foster healthy eating and implement healthy recipes that will be beneficial to all local residents.
More buses for NJ Transit’s 119 Route
On June 24, underutilized buses in Hudson County were reassigned to accommodate increasing ridership on the No. 119 route. There will be an additional 12 trips daily on the route, which operates from Bayonne, through the Jersey City Heights neighborhood, and to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. An additional seven trips will operate in the morning, and five more trips will depart the PABT in the evening.
“Hudson County is growing; particularly the Jersey City Heights and Union City areas, and we have to pursue creative ways to accommodate our citizens’ need for public transportation,” Union City Mayor Brian Stack said. “Hudson County Freeholder Joel Torres and I will continue to work tirelessly with NJ Transit to overcome logistical challenges and to continue to avail more resources for our residents.”
Weehawken Seniors invited to afternoon cruise
The Township of Weehawken, alongside the Hudson County Office on Aging, will host a free dining cruise aboard the Spirit of New Jersey. The event will be on July 17, and lunch will be provided free. For more information, or to sign up, call the Senior Center at 201-319-6060.
Free concert series lineups in Weehawken
There are plenty of opportunities throughout the summer to visit Weehawken’s parks for live, outdoor music performances.
At Pershing Park, located at the foot of Pershing Road, five concerts were announced through summer. All of the concerts will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and rain dates will be the following day in the event of inclement weather.
July 17 – Violet, with special guest Annie Minogue
July 31 – The Piero Romano Latin Jazz Ensemble
Aug. 7 – Finish This
Aug. 21 – Joe Ruddick Quartet
Sept. 4 – The Bitter Chills
At Hamilton Park, performances have been scheduled on Sundays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
July 7 – The Boulevard East Collective
July 14 – Rob Duncan & the Funkin’ Soul Band
July 21 – Finish This
July 28 – Swingadelic
Aug. 4 – Annie Minogue Band, with opening act 6 Fulton
Aug. 11 – South Street Station
Aug. 18 – Charu Suri and Friends
Aug. 26 – Big Mamou
Sept. 2 – Jason Pendergraft
For updates on rain dates for Hamilton Park concerts, visit the Weehawken Township Government Facebook page or Twitter @weehawkennj.
Union City hosting police community meetings
The Union City Police Department and Mayor Brian Stack will host several police community meetings at various locations each week throughout the month of July. The meetings will be held outdoors, and will be visiting every neighborhood within the city.
UCPD officers will be on hand to address any concerns, complaints, problems, and suggestions to gather constructive information from residents.
To find the police community meeting closest to you, visit ucnj.com/Calendar.
Union City’s Latin Nights and Jazz Nights
Through July and August, Latin music performances by Los Lozano, and jazz performances by the James Austin Trio will provide the vibes at several spots in Union City.
Anyone interested will be able to catch Los Lozano at:
Duarte Park – July 15
Firefighter’s Memorial Park – July 29
Palisade Plaza – Aug. 5
War Memorial Plaza – Aug. 26
The James Austin Trio will also play four shows:
Holy Rosary Church at 1509 Bergenline Ave – July 31
Union Plaza at 4501 Palisade Ave – Aug. 7
Bella Vista at 522 22nd St. – Aug. 12
Palisade Plaza at 3700 Palisade Ave – Aug. 21
In the June 27 edition of the Bayonne Community News, we mistakenly wrote that the Bayonne City Municipal Council Chambers was renamed for John Hughes. The Bayonne Municipal Courtroom was renamed for John Hughes. The council chambers remains named for Dorothy E. Harrington, the city’s first female council president. John Hughes served as the city’s public defender and was scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 25 for more than 45 years. The city held a re-dedication ceremony on June 17. We regret the error.
Korean War vet, John Nicaretta, dies at 88
John Nicaretta, a lifelong Bayonne resident, Korean War veteran, community volunteer, and commander of the Catholic War Veterans Post 1612, died on June 23 at the age of 88.
Born on Oct. 24, 1930 at Christ Hospital in Jersey City, grew up in Bayonne, joined the U.S. Army in 1951, and served as a mess sergeant in the Korean War. Nicaretta later joined the Catholic War Veterans, serving as vice president, president, and commander. He was inducted into the Catholic War Veterans Hall of Fame in 1998 and was one of the first veterans honored at the Field of Heroes ceremony at Bayonne High School in 2016.
Woman arrested for alleged school bus aide attack
A 34-year-old Bayonne woman was charged with aggravated assault, burglary, and endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly boarding a school bus and attacking a bus aide on June 19 on 50th Street and Avenue E, according to the Bayonne police. In the fight, a three-year-old child was inadvertently hit in the face. The 28-year-old aide told police the child’s eyeglasses were knocked off and broke upon hitting the floor. The reason for the incident was not disclosed.
New Jersey approves largest wind farm in U.S. to power 500k homes
The NJ Board of Public Utilities has approved a $1.6 billion project proposal from Ørsted, a Denmark-based energy firm that applied for several similar approvals in other states. Called Ocean Wind, it’s set to be the largest offshore wind-energy project funded by a state government in the U.S. so far, with an anticipated power-on date of 2024, according to the Asbury Park Press. The company partnered with PSE&G, which will lead energy management efforts onshore. Once it’s up and running, the 1,110-megawatt wind farm, 15 miles off the coast of Atlantic City, will produce enough electricity to power 500,000 homes. Gov. Phil Murphy’s clean-energy goal is for the state to secure 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2030.
Wages for personal care nurses to rise to $25 per hour
The state Assembly and Senate approved reforms last week that would significantly raise wages for workers responsible for sensitive caretaking duties for older adults and people with disabilities. The bill would require Medicaid to pay these workers a wage of $25 per hour. The current standard is $16 per hour in New Jersey, compared to $19.50 in Pennsylvania and up to $23 in New York.
Commuters to pay higher tolls, fares, and fees to Port Authority
The Port Authority of NY and NJ wants to hike bridge and tunnel tolls, PATH fares, and other fees for the first time in eight years, according to The Record. The proposal would raise the cash toll for tunnels and bridges by a dollar, bringing the total to $16. It would also cut back on some E-ZPass discounts and add pickup and drop-off fees for taxis and rideshares at airports. The increased fees will go toward $4.8 billion in new projects that were added to the 10-year, $32 billion capital plan. The full plan was brought before the Port Authority Board of Commissioners on June 27. Six public meetings will be held, three in New Jersey and three in New York. The only meeting in Hudson County will be on July 17 at 8 a.m. on the third floor at 2 Montgomery St. in Jersey City.
Overtime pay for corrections officers piles up at Hudson County jail
About a hundred corrections officer jobs remain unfilled at the Hudson County Correctional Center in Kearny, which has a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain immigrants. To staff the jail, the corrections department must pay its current officers overtime pay, which rose from $4.8 million in 2014 to $8.5 million in 2018, according to NJ.com. The county has paid $4.3 million in overtime so far in 2019. The Hudson County Executive says the shifts need to be filled, and no one is stepping up.
Poor oversight of parks wasted $343K, audit says
The New Jersey Comptroller released an audit report last week that concluded the Department of Environmental Protection failed to control, monitor, and maintain lease agreements with tenants in three state parks: Cheesequake, Island Beach, and Liberty State Park. These “collective failures” cost the DEP about $343,000 in lost revenue, according to The Record. A 2004 audit found a similarly troubling lack of oversight, concluding, “It does not appear that the monitoring of leases or collection of rent is a priority” for the DEP’s Office of Leases and Concessions.