Hoboken park receives $14 million in grants

Northwest Resiliency Park aims to mitigate flooding

Hoboken has secured $14 million in federal funding for the construction of the Northwest Resiliency Park.

The park aims to mitigate flooding in an area where heavy rainfall often leads to flooding and residents pulling on their knee-high rain boots.

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U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez joined Mayor Ravi Bhalla to announce the $14 million in combined grants on Monday, Feb. 24

“This ambitious, innovative project will improve the lives of Hoboken families, children, and seniors by better protecting this community from flooding that is occurring more and more frequently,” Menendez said.  “Sandy taught us that it’s a heck of a lot more expensive to rebuild in the aftermath of destructive storms than it is to prevent costly floods in the first place. That’s why I’ve been fighting to make new federal investments in forward-looking mitigation projects like Northwest Resiliency Park. When we talk about spending taxpayer dollars wisely, investing in resilience really pays off. In fact, every dollar spent on flood prevention and mitigation generates another six dollars in savings.”

Resilient open space

The five-acre park will become the country’s largest known resiliency park with above-ground green infrastructure and an underground water retention system that together can withhold nearly 2 million gallons of rainwater and runoff, according to a press release.

The park will include a one-million-gallon underground storage tank to collect rainwater; a 50,000-gallon underground cistern to collect and reuse rainwater to irrigate the lawn and plants in the park; above-ground green infrastructure, including trees and storm water gardens to store up to 750,000 gallons of surface storm water; and eight drainage areas to collect rainwater.

According to Bhalla, once it’s completed Northwest Resilience Park will reduce combined sewer overflows in Northwest Hoboken from four times a month to four times a year, a 90 percent decrease.

The park will also provide Hoboken residents and visitors another place to play because the park design incorporates playground equipment, a multi-purpose athletic field, basketball court, seasonal ice-skating rink, fountain, and fitness loop.

Passive park amenities will include a large lawn, park pavilion, lowland gardens, and seating areas.

The park is bounded by Madison Street to the west, Adams Street to the east, 13th Street to the north, and 12th Street to the south. It also includes a portion of the 1100 block of Madison Street, south of 12th Street.

The park is expected to be completed by 2022.

More funding

A $10 million FEMA grant will fund construction of the park’s resiliency features. A separate, $4 million grant provided to the North Hudson Sewerage Authority (NHSA) will fund the completion of storm water infrastructure upgrades in areas adjacent to the park.

“This $14 million in funding is a win for Hoboken and our state’s efforts to protect vulnerable communities from flooding that often accompanies storms and related weather events,” said Gov. Phil Murphy.  “The Northwest Resiliency Park, which will become New Jersey’s largest resiliency park upon completion, represents the type of innovative infrastructure needed to mitigate the impacts of sea-level rise and global warming. I commend Senator Menendez, Senator Booker, and Congressman Sires for their leadership and advocacy at the federal level to secure this critical funding.”

The New Jersey State Police Office of Emergency Management will administer the FEMA grants to the city.

“Hazard mitigation is a shared responsibility requiring a whole community approach,” said New Jersey State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan. “The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management will continue to work in partnership with communities throughout the state as we strive to continue this momentum of shared success.”

Bhalla said the park isn’t just a regional or statewide example for combating flooding but a model for the country, noting it will “finally provide relief to the chronic flooding that too often impacts residents in Northwest Hoboken” thanks to the new grant funding.

“The infrastructure to combat heavy rain events, combined with the state-of-the-art amenities in the park, will dramatically improve the quality of life for our community,” Bhalla said. “I’m extremely thankful to our federal elected officials, Governor Murphy and his administration, and all project stakeholders for making this grant award possible.”

According to Bhalla, the park will be constructed without any impact on Hoboken’s 2020 municipal budget despite the $48.5 million construction costs.

Aside from the federal grants, additional funding will come from Hoboken’s Open Space Trust Fund, Hudson County’s Open Space Trust Fund, and low interest and interest-free loans from the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank with principal forgiveness due to the flood infrastructure within the park.

The total cost of the park is estimated at $90 million.

“This is incredible news for Hoboken,” said Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher. “Including acquisition and finance costs the price of the park is over $90 million so this grant goes a long way to easing the financial impact of this important project,”

For more information on the park design and regular updates on construction, visit the project website at http://www.hobokennj.gov/nwpar

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.


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