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Hoboken residents prefer municipal complex with most amenities

Highest plurality want to see civic center, pool, rec center, and fieldhouse together

41 percent of respondents preferred the complex design with all of the amenities, according to a city survey. Photo by Mark Koosau.

In a city-run survey about the proposed municipal complex, most residents who responded preferred a design with all of the proposed amenities, according to results released by the city today.

The municipal complex is a project in the northwest end that, originally meant as a replacement for the municipal works garage as part of the Monarch agreement, is proposed to include space for public safety departments, city offices and community activities.

The city had asked residents what their preferred choices were for four versions of the project: one with the base option, one that includes the municipal pool and parking, one that also includes the recreational center, and one that also includes the indoor field house.

The city said that in a survey where over 1,000 people responded, 41 percent of responders preferred the option that included all of the additional amenities proposed. Some 28 percent voted for the option with everything but the field house, 15 percent wanted the option with just the pool and parking, and nine percent wanted the base option.

“The survey results speak for themselves,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla in a statement. “As our population continues to grow, we must invest in our future to provide for their needs and I look forward to continuing to work with the community on this vision for the Hoboken Municipal Complex.”

The project is estimated to cost at least $152.2 million, and adding all of the other amenities would make it cost $192.2 million overall. The city says that they plan to fund the project with minimal taxpayer impact by using PILOT agreements, redevelopments and grants.

Concept renderings for the municipal complex. Image via City of Hoboken.

The city is looking to acquire the Poggi Press site at 1501 Adams St. to construct the project, and the City Council has voted to allow the city to either acquire the property or condemn it via eminent domain.

But the plan has been met with resistance by its property owner, Charlie Poggi, who has stated that he wants to redevelop the property himself. A press release said that the Bhalla administration “is actively engaging in negotiations with [Poggi][…] on an acquisition of the property. “

A $40 million bond ordinance that would have been used to buy the property had been tabled for successive meetings, with six votes out of nine being needed to adopt a bond ordinance, and is gone from this week’s agenda. The first introduction was voted on 5-4.

The Jersey Journal reported yesterday that the city was in talks two months ago with the Hudson County Improvement Authority, which can help municipalities with bonding and other financing, but “no specific project was discussed and there has not been any communication between the parties since, [HCIA spokesperson Darsen Hover] said.”

“I think it is imperative that we continue to have an open and transparent process to include our neighbors in finalizing decisions associated with this plan,” said Council President Michael Russo in a statement. “I’m hopeful that collectively, the entire council and the administration, will find a way to move this project ahead in the near future.”

The city plans to host another virtual meeting on May 12 at 6 p.m. to review the survey results and present the final concept designs based on community feedback. To register for the meeting, visit www.hobokennj.gov/HobokenMunicipalComplexMeeting.

For updates on this and other stories, check hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Mark Koosau can be reached at mkoosau@hudsonreporter.com or his Twitter @snivyTsutarja.

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