Pier C moving forward
Roberts said that construction will begin this fall on the new Pier C Park, to be located near Sinatra Drive and Fourth Street. This week the city released to the Reporter the most recent architectural renderings of the park. Pier C was the broken pier that used to jut into the Hudson River from Third Street. In the summer of 2002, contractors razed it. Now there are plans to build an approximately 2-acre park with the Port Authority's money. For perspective, Pier A Park, with which residents are familiar, is just about 5 acres.
The roughly 2-acre park is currently designed as a "play landscape," featuring space for volleyball, a play area for children of all ages, a floating swimming pool, a 700-foot fishing pier and a picnic area with tables and grills.
The proposed design is an asymmetrical park with many curves and angles and most of the park's landmass running parallel to the shoreline. The park will be attached to the shore only through walkways.
The main walkway, or promenade, connects the park to Sinatra Drive and the waterfront walkway, and is slated to extend east from Fourth Street.
Pier C Park was designed by landscape designer Michael Van Valkenburgh and is expected to open in late 2005 or early 2006, according to city officials.
In July of 2003, the city held a public meeting to present what was planned for the park. Since the meeting, there have been several changes. Removed from the design were plans for a floating marsh and a movie screen that would have been erected in the river.
The most exciting addition is that plans for a floating swimming pool have returned to the design.
In December of 2000 former Mayor Anthony Russo announced plans to place a municipal swimming pool made out of a hollowed out barge at Pier C. When Roberts came into office, the plans for the pool were removed because there were concerns that the pool would be too big to attach to the new Pier C Park, and there were apprehensions about getting the appropriate Department of Environmental Protection approvals for the floating pool.
According to City Open Space Planner Cassandra Wilday, the DEP has been more receptive to the plans than originally thought, and she expects the state agency to grant the necessary permits. Also, she said, the designers of the park have found a way to attach the pool to the pier so it looks in scale with the rest of the park.
According to Wilday, the floating pool will be donated by a private corporation. The only cost to the Port Authority will be driving plies to moor the floating pool, and then once it is open, the city will have to pay for maintenance.
Who's paying the bill?
The demolition of the old and rotting Pier C and reconstruction expenses for the new pier park will be paid for by the Port Authority. The Port Authority has already handed $80 million to the city to help redevelop the southern waterfront in an effort to fulfill a congressional mandate to breathe new life into the area.
According to Wilday, the Port Authority has allotted $23 million for the Pier C project. After demolition, the city still has approximately $19 million to reconstruct and create a park on the new pier.
Is it summer yet?
According to Mayor David Roberts, the city will offer free sailing classes for Hoboken children and "greatly reduced" prices on lessons and boat use for adults.
"Hoboken is a river city, and we are bringing back the culture of boating," said Roberts. "This is a very exciting venture and underscores our commitment to providing new and creative recreational opportunities for our children."
According to the mayor's spokesperson, Bill Campbell, the sailing program will be a joint venture between the city and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who will fund a floating dock to be placed adjacent to Pier A Park.
According to Roberts, the program is expected to begin this summer. The program's operator will be selected in the spring, said city open space planner Cassandra Wilday. - Tom Jennemann