Fourth Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti released a statement on Monday calling on Mayor Dawn Zimmer to re-route $3 million in unused grant money from the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund for a new park in southwest Hoboken.
“The Southwest Park can become a reality and over the past few months the city has made progress towards the creation of the park,” Occhipinti said in a statement. “We have a golden opportunity to put unused money towards a much-needed project in the often-neglected 4th Ward and I’m afraid we are going to lose out.”
In a release, Occhipinti said the county is giving municipalities a "one-time chance" to redirect funding and seek an extension for a grant.
Zimmer, who was reached while on vacation, said she wasn't ready to comment publicly on Occhipinti's release.
"A park in the southwest is extremely important to me," Zimmer said. "I'll be making my position on the $3 million clear in a memo to the council [before the meeting on Wednesday]."
Zimmer, who is politically at odds with Occhipinti, said the councilman never reached out to her directly about the issue, and said she doesn't believe in communicating with council members through the press.
Occhipinti said in the release that he's urging Zimmer and her council allies "to make this park a priority."
The issue will likely arise on Wednesday at the City Council meeting. - Ray Smith