Mayor Bhalla and the City of Hoboken announced a search for a qualified consultant to engage in an “open public process” for the design of the City’s fourth resiliency park which will be located at 800 Monroe Street.
A Brief Recap on the Year’s Long Acquisition
The City acquired the property located at Monroe Street to the west, 8th Street to the south, Jackson Street to the east, and the residential building to the north, through the three-way land swap agreement with the Applied Parties just last month.
Community advocates sounded the alarm in 2011 when plans were made public to develop the lot at 15th Street and Shipyard Avenue into two, 11-story condos, that were to be called The Monarch. Over the years, the dispute intensified, resulting in a lawsuit brought by Funds for a Better Waterfront, the Hudson Tea Condominium Association, and the City.
This acquisition of the 800 Monroe site was years in the making and controversial almost the City government, locals, and developers involved. Several council members shared their thoughts on the agreement with HG in February of 2021. “Adding over an acre of public park space at 8th and Monroe in addition to permanently securing the public right of access to our waterfront park on the 15th Street piers — replacing two planned 11-story residential towers on those piers — is great news for the residents of the 5th Ward, who will have easy access to spectacular, new green spaces in our City,” said Phil Cohen, Fifth Ward City Councilman.
Mayor Bhalla and Michael Barry of Ironstate Development signed the closing documents of a landmark land swap agreement “the Monarch Settlement Agreement.” During the first week of November. The mayor had said at the time the agreement was signed, “It allows the City to preserve public access to our waterfront, obtain waterfront land for public open space, acquire 1.45 acres of land for a future resiliency park in western Hoboken, and it allows the developer to revitalize the current site of our public works facility, adding vibrancy to downtown Hoboken. Residents and future generations will reap the benefits of this truly momentous deal for years to come. Thank you to all the parties involved for working together to make this agreement a reality.”
The Current Plans
Fast forward a little over a month and the proposal for the park has been released.
The vision is to make the 1.43-acre property “a world-class resiliency park and community space that will be integral to the neighborhood, mitigate rainfall flooding in western Hoboken, and connect the Green Circuit as detailed in the City’s Master Plan,” according to the press release. “The 800 Monroe community park will enhance the City’s storm mitigation by becoming an additional delay, store, and discharge project.”
“The City has taken an innovative approach to provide our residents with more quality open space that also serves the dual purpose of making our mile-square community more resilient to the effects of climate change,” said Mayor Bhalla in a statement. “I look forward to working with the community on creating a multi-faceted park for all residents to enjoy.”
“The consultant will work with the City, community stakeholders, and the public at large to create design alternatives for the site incorporating innovative active recreation, passive recreation, cultural amenities, landscapes, resiliency components, and urban design. There will be multiple opportunities for public engagement and a project website for members of the public to stay informed throughout the design process. The park’s design will also complement the character of the existing neighborhood and the 7th & Jackson Resiliency Park, which the City opened in 2019, that can detain more than 470,000 gallons of stormwater runoff.”
The Southwest Resiliency Park manages nearly 200,000 gallons of stormwater using underground detention and surface green infrastructure. Hoboken is currently designing a 1-acre expansion to Southwest Park, which will manage up to 600,000 gallons of stormwater. The largest resiliency park, the 6-acre Northwest Resiliency Park, is said to manage 1 million gallons of stormwater in underground detention and up to 1 million gallons using surface green infrastructure.
Southwest and Northwest Parks are Rainfall Flood Mitigation projects identified in the Rebuild by Design Hudson River (“RBD-HR”) comprehensive water management strategy.