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Mayor Bhalla to Speak at Columbine Anniversary Rally for Gun Control

Hoboken Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla will join a student-organized protest rally to end gun violence on Friday, April 20 from 4-5 p.m. at City Hall. The rally is scheduled on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.

“If we fight back against the lobbyists and legislators keeping us from enacting effective gun control measures, we can prevent a tragedy like Columbine from happening to our community,” said Bhalla. “The right to life is the first unalienable right Thomas Jefferson declared for our country, and I am so proud of our young students for leading the charge on this important issue.”

The event is hosted by Hoboken members of Students Demand Action Hudson County as well as Moms Demand Action Hudson County.

“I don’t intend to politicize a tragedy that happened before I was even born,” said 13-year-old Hoboken student Toby Platt, an organizer of the rally, “but children’s lives are apolitical, and we need to discuss solutions to gun violence in schools. The fact is, school shootings have been commonplace my entire life. Mass shooter drills are part of the learning routine – my school had one just this morning. While I shouldn’t have to fight for my own, or others’, right to live, I will do everything I can to make sure my community never has to know the pain so many have had to face.”

The event will honor the victims of Columbine with a reading of their names. In addition to Bhalla, speakers will include Platt, Councilwoman Emily Jabbour, and Hoboken students and educators.

Hoboken Green Team Invites Businesses to Take the Annual Green Business Pledge

The Hoboken Green Business Recognition Program distinguishes local businesses that are advancing sustainability and environmental responsibility in our community. In 2017, the Green Team recognized 23 local Hoboken Green Businesses. Simply Juiced was named as Hoboken’s most sustainable business of 2017 for composting more than 57,000 lbs of food waste, diverting that waste from landfills and enriching organic farms.

Businesses in Hoboken are invited to apply for recognition in 2018 by completing the Green Business Pledge.  This is an annual application process to track progress in sustainability efforts; each business must reapply annually for recognition. The pledge takes less than five minutes and should be completed by May 1, 2018.

The Green Team will review all submitted pledges and recommend businesses for recognition at the 7th annual Hoboken Green Fair on June 2, 2018.

Hoboken Green Businesses will receive a Hoboken Green Business sticker to display at their storefront; a digital version of the Hoboken Green Business sticker to post on their website; recognition as a Hoboken Green Business at the 2018 Hoboken Green Fair; a press release that will be distributed via the City Nixle emails, website, and social media; a “Green Business Spotlight” on the Hoboken Green Team Instagram page; a free space at the 2018 Hoboken Green Fair; and recognition as a Hoboken Green Business on the Hoboken website.

For more information about the Hoboken Green Business Recognition Program, please visit www.hobokennj.gov/greenteam.

Mayor Bhalla to Host a Community Meeting on Future of Multi Service Center

The City of Hoboken is looking for public input on how the under-utilized Multi Service Center should be redesigned for the future. A community meeting will be held on April 25 at 6 p.m. at the Multi Service Center (124 Grand St.).

“This might be the most consequential meeting for the Multi Service Center that will shape its role in our city for generations to come,” said Hoboken Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla. “I urge everyone invested in Hoboken’s future to please attend the meeting and tell us what you want to see out of this space.”

After the meeting, the City will retain an engineering firm to conduct a feasibility study and cost analysis, based on public input.

“I hope city residents and officials will join me in determining how this space can best serve the needs of Hoboken,” said Bhalla.

 

Hoboken Green Team to Host 7th Annual Green Fair, Invites Vendors and Participants

The City of Hoboken Green Team will host the 7th Annual Green Fair on Saturday, June 16, 2018.
 
The 7th Annual Green Fair will be held from 11am to 3pm at Church Square Park, entering from the corner of Fourth Street and Garden Street, and will feature live music and organic food vendors. It is intended to introduce sustainable lifestyle choices to the community, raise awareness regarding environmental issues, and demonstrate how consumers can reduce their impact on the earth by selecting sustainable, eco-friendly products and services.
 
Green businesses or non-profits whose mission aligns with environmental sustainability are invited to participate in the Green Fair. The Green Team also welcomes the local arts community. Interested vendors can submit the online registration form at www.hobokennj.gov/greenfair and contact Jennifer Gonzalez at jgonzalez@hobokennj.gov with any questions. The final day for registration is Monday, June 11, 2018. 

Design to be Unveiled to the Public for Northwest Resiliency Park

The City of Hoboken will hold a public meeting on Monday, April 9 at 7 p.m. at Wallace School Cafeteria to discuss the concept design for the Northwest Resiliency Park.

The future park is a key part of Hoboken’s resiliency strategy and will integrate green infrastructure and innovative storm water management measures to reduce flooding from heavy rain.

In 2017, the City opened a temporary pop-up park at the site. The pop-up park will remain in place until construction of the permanent park begins.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the concept design and receive feedback from the public. No formal action will be taken at the meeting.

Written comments can be submitted online or by emailing northwestpark@hobokennj.gov.

City Hall Celebrates Autism Awareness

Hoboken Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla will join City Councilperson Emily Jabbour and the Hoboken Special Needs Parent Group in proclaiming Wednesday, April 4, 2018 Autism Awareness Day in the City of Hoboken at a 1 p.m. at City Hall.

In honor of Autism Awareness Day, City Hall will be lit up in blue lights in the evening.

“It’s a privilege to help bring awareness to the needs of those in our community with Autism,” said Bhalla. “I ask Hoboken to join us in recognizing the important role children and adults with Autism play in our community.”

Speakers at the event will include:

  • Mayor Bhalla
  • Captain Rich England, Hoboken Fire Department
  • Kerry Magro, a Hoboken resident and award winning speaker diagnosed with Autism
  • Alexander Dallara, a Hoboken eight-year-old diagnosed with Autism
  • Sheillah Dallara, co-director of the Hoboken Special Needs Parent Group

Inspired by his autistic son, Mason, Captain England is coordinating Autism Shield Training for Hoboken first responders.

“The Hoboken Fire Department is committed to creating a safe environment for all Hoboken residents,” said England. “With the population of individuals with Autism growing, we believe it’s necessary to create awareness and sensitivity among our first responders.  We are dedicated to working with the Board of Education to host POAC Autism Shield Training this year.”

Speaker Alexander Dallara’s mom Sheillah Dallara is the co-director of the Hoboken Special Needs Group and an organizer of the event.

“I am so proud of Alexander for his eagerness to share with Hoboken what it’s like being au-some, as I like to call it,” said Sheillah Dallara. “I encourage everyone to come out, and I’m looking forward to the chance to help spread understanding and acceptance in our city!”

Parties Reach An Agreement – New Jersey Transit Meeting To Acquire Union Dry Dock To Be Canceled

After days of discussions, Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla, the Office of the Governor or New Jersey, and New Jersey Transit have reached an agreement concerning the Union Dry Dock property in Hoboken, New Jersey.  The agreement will result in the cancellation of tomorrow’s emergency meeting of the New Jersey Transit Board of Trustees, where New Jersey Transit intended to acquire this property and immediately lease it back to New York Waterway to use as a ferry refueling, repair, and maintenance facility.

“I am glad the meeting is being canceled and we now have an opportunity to find a use for the land through an open and public process,” said Mayor Bhalla. “It is still my goal to provide a contiguous waterfront in Hoboken, and I look forward to working with the Governor’s office, New Jersey Transit, and New York Waterway to make this a reality and find a reasonable alternative location for the fueling and maintenance site.”

A poll shows nearly 92 percent of Hoboken residents said the land should become a park. The previously scheduled meeting, which was scheduled shortly before a holiday weekend, would have taken place during a week day afternoon while many Hoboken residents are away for Spring Break.

As part of the deal to cancel the meeting, Bhalla agreed to formally end eminent domain proceedings and withdraw the offer to buy the land. A resolution and ordinance detailing this action has been added to the Hoboken City Council agenda for their regularly scheduled meeting on April 4.

“This resolution is the latest in a series of good-faith efforts on our part to cooperate with all parties,” said Bhalla. “I thank Governor Murphy for working with me to ensure an open and transparent process.”

Officials are considering alternative locations in Bayonne, which has expressed interest in housing the proposed facility, for New York Waterway to use.

Mayor Bhalla suspends eminent domain proceedings and urges Governor Murphy to cancel “emergency” NJ Transit meeting

New Jersey Transit will potentially acquire the Union Dry Dock property on Hoboken’s waterfront at an “emergency” meeting of its Board of Directors this Wednesday, April 4 at 2 p.m. in Newark, New Jersey.

Since learning about New Jersey Transit’s intention to acquire this property in Hoboken late last week, I have been in regular communication with the Governor’s office and other stakeholders. The so-called “emergency” requiring a special meeting is an offer to purchase the Union Dry Dock property made by Hoboken for $11.63 million, which requested a response within 14 days. It was from this offer that New Jersey Transit manufactured a legal fiction and “emergency” rush to buy the property before the expiration of the 14-day period, based on the false claim that Hoboken would be able to lawfully exercise eminent domain immediately thereafter.

To put this fear to rest, I extended this 14-day period by 45 days this past Friday, so the parties can discuss a compromise that met the dual interests of New Jersey Transit to sustain ferry commuter operations for the region, and consider serious environmental, planning, and other concerns from local Hoboken residents about the location of the proposed refueling, repair, and maintenance station. This good faith offer to find a compromise was rejected by New Jersey Transit in its letter to me last Saturday night.

After thoughtful consideration this weekend, I have decided to formally suspend the City of Hoboken’s legal effort to exercise eminent domain over the Union Dry Dock property in Hoboken, currently owned by New York Waterway. I am taking this action so that there can be no question that an “emergency” no longer exists, and to allow the parties, including Hoboken, to work cooperatively towards a solution that balances all valid interests.

This decision is in direct response to a proposal Governor Murphy made directly to me last week: suspend or withdraw eminent domain proceedings, and the board meeting will be cancelled so we can all get in a room this week and find a way forward.

I wholeheartedly agree with Governor Murphy that we all want to end up in the same place in finding a workable solution for everyone. By suspending eminent domain proceedings, I have met my end of the bargain and respectfully ask the Governor to do the same.  The emergency meeting should be cancelled so we may find a way forward that considers all legitimate interests.

Letter from Mayor Bhalla to Hoboken residents regarding Union Dry Dock

Dear Residents,

I am forwarding to you the attached letter from New Jersey Transit (NJT) Executive Director Kevin Corbett, which I received last night at 6:30 p.m., informing me of New Jersey Transit’s intention to acquire the Union Dry Dock site in Hoboken from New York Waterway this Wednesday at 2 p.m. at an emergency meeting of its Board of Trustees.

It is disappointing that NJT deems it appropriate to send me a letter on a Saturday night before Easter about taking such an action while the district schools are closed for Spring Break and many families – mine included – are away for the holiday break. Last year, Governor Murphy called New Jersey Transit a “national disgrace”. Unfortunately, in terms of transparency, actions like these demonstrate that the agency has yet to make the changes it needs in how operates. It’s an insult to the public for NJT to be making such important decisions under the cover of darkness and with no meaningful opportunity for public input.

While Director Corbett’s letter blames bad weather for our failure to meet regarding a Bayonne option in the month of March, the record reflects that my persistent attempts to have the meeting he refers to were hijacked by the Governor’s office.

The remainder of Director Corbett’s letter is a rational policy argument on the need to consider regional transit interests and NJT’s responsibility to sustain the transit system, including ferry operation, in the larger public interest. This is an interest everyone understands and appreciates, especially the residents of Hoboken, as we rely on dependable ferry service every working day.

The elephant in the room that Director Corbett avoids is the fact that NJT’s acquisition of the UDD property will shield New York Waterway from the City of Hoboken’s ability to exercise eminent domain for the purpose of, in the long run, preserving this waterfront land as open space for the public benefit. In other words, this acquisition by NJT will deprive Hoboken and its residents from having its rightful seat at the table, and a legitimate local voice, in the larger regional planning process.

I will speak more on this specific topic (eminent domain) tomorrow morning, stay tuned. The City of Hoboken will also provide details on Monday for buses it will be providing free of charge to Hoboken residents who seek to attend NJT’s Board Meeting this coming Wednesday. I urge you all to attend the Board Meeting and make your voices heard. I hope to see you there.

Very Truly Yours,

Ravi S. Bhalla
Mayor, City of Hoboken

Update on Milling and Paving on Washington Street

Beginning on Monday, April 2nd, the City of Hoboken will begin milling and paving on Washington Street between 1st and 5th Streets.

During the milling process, traffic will be maintained on Washington Street, however during paving buses will be detoured.

Please be advised of “Temporary No Parking” signs posted during these dates, on or near Washington Street.

NJ Transit will be continuing the 126 Bus Route along Washington Street on Monday and Tuesday; on Wednesday through Friday, the 126 Bus Route will be running along Hudson and Bloomfield Streets to 7th Street.

Work hours for the project will be from 7:30am-7:30pm.

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