Open Space Issues

Money doesn't grow on trees

Parks consultant Cynthia Nikitin

Wednesday night's City Council meeting began with a presentation from Cynthia Nikitin, vice president of a non-profit organization called Project for Public Spaces (PPS) in New York City. The group assists municipalities in creating and sustaining public places.

At the meeting, Nikitin delivered a presentation on ideas and opportunities for Hoboken's existing and future parks.


(Click image to pop up video window)

In case you missed it on January 2, 2008, the Hoboken City Council adopted an open space tax that will generate millions of dollars to buy land for new parks.
The ordinance, adopted Wednesday night, requires property owners to pay $20 for every $100,000 in assessed value. The money will be put into a trust fund, which the city will use to acquire and develop new park land.

Hoboken resident HELEN HIRSH spoke before the Council and expressed her concern that there appeared to be "no written guidelines" and "Council confusion" as to how the trust fund money would be allocated for new park land.  Her question triggered a debate among some Council members who believed that the City could tap into the trust fund for the maintenance of both existing and newly created park lands.

The issue was resolved when Hoboken Corporation Counsel Steven Kleinman provided a legal opinion that the the money from the open space tax is divided into two parts: 75 percent will be used for acquiring land or funding a bond to acquire the land, and 25 percent will go toward turning newly acquired land into parks.

Kleinman went on to say that the city ordinance, as approved by referendum in the November, 2007 election, provides exclusively for 1) aquisition of the land, 2) developement of the land, and 3) payment for debt service. 

The restrictions would also control the terms of any Open Space bonding.   There are no provisions within the ordinance that would allow the use of the trust fund for maintenance of existing or new parks.

All park maintenance will continue to be funded out of the City's general funds.

True `open space update'

Dave Roberts likes to claim credit for things that he had nothing to do with. For example, in his last campaign, he listed the automated garage at 916 Garden St. as one of the accomplishments of his first administration, while it is common knowledge that it was initiated by the administration that preceded his. (I'm wondering, considering the cur-rent state of affairs at the garage, if it's still some-thing he wants to have on his resume.)

Southwest Redevelopment Meeting

PUBLIC MEETING                
Community Planning Consultant
in association with THE CITY OF HOBOKEN
Invite all to a Public meeting
to discuss the future of the Southwest Redevelopment
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