Friday, July 20, 2007

western edge redevelopment - no peeing in the pool please!

Here's an article from today's Journal regarding the vote last night to deem the western edge of Hoboken (9th to 14th Street) a redevelopment zone, paving the way (literally) for new construction. Whether that means we're losing our proposed park land along the light rail remains to be seen:

Western Hoboken redevelop zone gets 6-3 approval

Friday, July 20, 2007

By LYSA CHEN
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

An 11-acre area along Hoboken's western boundary between Ninth and 14th streets was deemed a redevelopment zone by the Hoboken City Council Wednesday night, a maneuver some council members said will virtually guarantee a pool and recreation center for the city.

Planner Paul Phillips, of Phillips Preiss Shapiro Associates, said three of the four properties included in his study of Hoboken's western edge are vacant and have fallen into various stages of disrepair. The fourth lot, he said, would be necessary to redevelop the entire area and was included, although it does not necessarily need redevelopment itself.

By designating the city's western edge as a redevelopment zone, the council retained more control over plans for the area, said Third Ward Councilman Michael Russo. Although plans are not set in stone, Russo said developers have promised a swimming pool and recreation center, two items long on the city's wish list.

"A vote against this redevelopment zone is a vote against the pool," he said.

But some members of the public were skeptical of such promises, accusing some council members of using "the same old carrot." They said the owner of the properties included in the study, Tarragon/URSA, has broken similar promises to the city.

Fifth Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham said the council should consider other options before making any decisions.

"It's not that I don't want that pool, that community center," he said. "I want the best pool, the biggest pool, the most outdoor space."

Second Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason said the council needs to consider the redevelopment areas in their entirety.

The council designated the western edge as a redevelopment zone by a 6-to-3 vote.

Voting for the redevelopment zone were Council President Theresa Castellano, Angelo "Nino" Giacchi, Terry LaBruno, Ruben Ramos, Peter Cammarano and Russo. Voting against it were Mason, Dawn Zimmer and Cunningham.

Mayor David Roberts said he is "very pleased" with the result of the vote and is excited by the prospects of a municipal swimming pool and recreation center.

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