Mayor David Roberts' Open Space Initiative is the largest expansion of open space in the City's history. It proposed 17 acres of new open space, parks, athletic fields and recreational facilities which are consistent with the City's Master Plan.
The Master Plan sets forth the goal of creating 30 new acres of open space over a 10-20 year period. The Mayor has already achieved 13 acres from Maxwell Place (5 acres), Hoboken Cove (6 acres), and Pier C Park (2 acres). His plan to add 17 acres would achieve the projected goal of creating 30 acres of new open space.
The Master Plan on page 39 states that the open space deficit can be overcome but it "will require the will to ensure that new open space amenities are provided at every possible opportunity, such as in connection with large-scale development projects, redevelopment plans, or government actions".
Page 44 sets forth thirteen specific recommendations and concepts to be utilized to carry out the intent of the Master Plan with regard to an open space program. The Mayor's Initiative implements all thirteen recommendations.
The Mayor's Open Space Initiative for the western edge of the City proposes that 5 acres of the 10 acre site be open space, a linear park with designated park activity areas, and a greenbelt and pedestrian/bicycle pathway as part of a redevelopment plan at no cost to the City. Also the redeveloper would build at his sole cost a $5 million dollar, 20,000 sq. ft. recreational community center and swimming pool complex, which would be transferred to the City as a public facility.
Community groups have proposed that the City acquire the entire site (10 acres) for open space. But how would this be financed, or what would be the cost to the City's taxpayers? The total cost to the city to acquire and develop as open space and parks 10 acres of land in Hoboken could be approximately $100 million dollars (10 million per acre). It is unrealistic to assume that full funding would come from the state.
The only way to raise that amount of funds would be through the issuance by the city of capital bond ordinances. This would triple the City's capital bond indebtedness from $54 million dollars to $154 million dollars and increase the annual debt service payment from $4 million dollars to $14 million dollars. Since the City would acquire the entire 10 acre site, it would be exempt from the payment of taxes. As a redevelopment area, PILOT payments would generate $6 million dollars a year in tax revenues to the City. The total cost to the City taxpayers could be $20 million dollars on an annual basis, which would have to be raised by an increase in taxes.
The Mayor's Open Space Initiative is consistent with recommendations and concepts in the Master Plan. It is realistic and can be accomplished at the lowest costs to the City's taxpayers. Mayor Roberts was able to obtain 13 acres of open space and parks at Maxwell Place, Hoboken Cove and Pier C Park at no cost to the City.
Very truly yours,
Fred M. Bado
Director Community Development, Hoboken