New Jersey

Ferry Fleet To Dock On Hoboken Waterfront, City Promises Future Park

HOBOKEN, NJ — The Hoboken City Council voted 7-1-1 Wednesday to lease NY Waterway a central waterfront property for the maintenance of up to 20 ferries so the city can begin building a public park thereafter.

The compromise was part of a larger agreement over the land NY Waterway bought from Union Dry Dock years ago. The city, which wanted to build a park there, took legal action last year to buy the property from NY Waterway, but will lease it back to them for a period of time so the company can find a new permanent location to service the ferry .

Now Waterway can use the site “to carry out temporary maintenance on ferries for a period of approximately three years,” according to an agreement the council unveiled on Wednesday, and “this period may be extended by no more than two years upon request.” from New York.”

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The company will use it for “overnight storage of approximately 20 ferry boats on site, with maintenance and repair of the boats as the main use of the site”.

Mayor Ravi Bhalla said in a press release on Thursday, “While I know NYWW’s temporary use of the Union Dry Dock for various operations is not what everyone wants to see at the site and there may be some inconvenience in the near future, I believe.” I really believe that this compromise is in the best interests of both Hoboken residents who want to see a permanent park at this site, and to ensure
NYWW ferry operations can continue to function at a high level and at least at all.”

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He added, “Ultimately, this compromise and lease is the quickest, most convenient and most collaborative way to build a park without additional delays and minimizes the risk of further litigation.”

NY Waterway has served commuters between New York City and Hudson County since 1987.

The city said if NYWW’s temporary ferry service is needed beyond Hoboken’s time
takes to design the park and start building the park, the city will still build the park on land the company is not using and build the rest when they leave.

Operations take place between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., although it is permitted to start, operate and move ferries outside of these times. Employees can park on site and temporary improvements are being made to the bulkhead and piers.

Responding to concerns from the Hoboken Cove Boathouse and waterfront activists, Bhalla said, “The lease commits NYWW to using all reasonable efforts to ensure the health and safety of recreational users of the Hudson River.”

The full press release can be found here:

Below is an update provided to residents today on the creation of a waterfront public park at Union Dry Dock from Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla.

Dear resident,

I am writing to provide an update on the Union Dry Dock property. As you may know, converting the former Union Dry Dock site into a waterfront public park has been one of my top priorities as Mayor, and we have made significant progress toward that end. Last month I was pleased to share the news that Hoboken deposited the estimated $13.36 million in property value with the courts and officially assumed ownership of the Union Dry Dock property.

We are fully committed to the next step in the process of building Maritime Park at the formerly known Union Dry Dock site while ensuring we support the New York Waterway’s mass transit infrastructure in its transition. To that end, my office solicited proposals from professional firms to guide the public process of designing a waterfront park that reflects the needs of our community.

We evaluated 17 responsive proposals from highly qualified companies and will shortly, as part of the evaluation process, decide which company we believe is the best fit to receive a Maritime Park concept design contract.

We will place a contract for this venture on the next City Council agenda on February 15th and shortly thereafter hold our first public meeting to gather input from the community on possible park designs. I envision a similar public process that we have conducted for other open space projects, including the soon to be completed Northwest Resiliency Park.

In parallel, we carefully worked with New York Waterway to provide the parameters of a lease agreement for their temporary use of the former Union Dry Dock site, allowing them to operate temporary ferry operations while an alternative permanent site is built. outside of Hoboken, continues.

I am pleased that my administration, in conjunction with NYWW and their legal team, negotiated this lease agreement which is mutually acceptable and which was approved on first reading (two readings required) by Hoboken City Council last night. Thank you to the eight council members who approved the lease at first reading. The lease currently includes the following provisions and allowances:

  1. A period of approximately three years to conduct temporary ferry operations. This period can potentially be extended by a maximum of two years at NYWW’s request.
  2. The lease is subject to NYWW receiving all building and zoning permits from the City of Hoboken that we expect to receive based on the existing zoning permitting industrial uses, as well as US Army Corps of Engineers and New Jersey permits Department of Environmental Protection to temporarily use the Union Dry Dock, which we both have every confidence in.
  3. Overnight storage of approximately 20 ferry boats on site, with maintenance and repair of the boats as the main use of the site.
  4. Operating between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., although starting, operating and moving ferries outside of these hours is permitted.
  5. On-site parking and access to NYWW staff premises.
  6. Construct temporary bulkhead and pier improvements to allow for various maintenance and repairs to the ferry, as well as other on-site utility upgrades.
  7. Limited secondary refueling operations, only permitted if the current primary fueling station outside of Hoboken is unavailable, and expected to occur for a short period when the primary fueling station is upgraded. All limited secondary refueling operations must be by road tanker truck unless there is an emergency.
  8. NYWW’s activities will be focused on the south end of Union Dry Dock land, with no activity on the north side of the North Pier at Hoboken Cove. This will also allow the city to begin the process of expanding Sinatra Drive as part of the Sinatra Drive redevelopment project to revitalize the waterfront. ‍

NYWW has stated that boats are brought out of the site primarily in the early morning hours and returned to the site in the later evening hours.

While I know that NYWW’s temporary use of the Union Dry Dock for various operations is not what everyone wants to see at the site, and that this may cause some inconvenience in the near future, I genuinely believe that this compromise is in the best interest Both Hoboken residents would like to see a permanent park at this site and ensure NYWW ferry operations continue to operate at a high level, or at least at all.

Ultimately, this compromise and lease agreement is the quickest, most convenient, and most cooperative way to build a park without additional delays and minimize the risk of further litigation. If NYWW’s temporary ferry service is required beyond the time it takes Hoboken to design and begin construction of the park (and within the terms of the lease), we will build the park in phases beginning with the Construction of the park on the part of the property that NYWW does not use. We will then proceed to build out the remaining lot previously used by NYWW once they have vacated the lot.

I believe this approach of planning a public park with a public process and a professional company to help us while NYWW temporarily uses the site will allow both Hoboken and NYWW to achieve their ultimate goals: for Hoboken the Utilizing Near Future to plan the design of a public park and eventually gradually expanding it, and NYWW to use this time during the design process and for a short time thereafter to transition their ferry operations by temporarily using Union’s dry dock at an alternative location.

I appreciate the members of the Hoboken Community Cove Boathouse, as well as other waterfront stakeholders who have contacted me with their concerns about aspects of the site’s temporary use. I fully understand these concerns and am confident that we will be able to work with NYWW to minimize this impact.

To that end, the lease requires NYWW to use all reasonable efforts to ensure the health and safety of recreational users of the Hudson River. This includes complying with all required rules and regulations as required by law, such as: B. Boat safety communication guidelines, dodging for muscle-powered boaters, and limiting waking near Union Dry Dock and paddling/boating activities. The lease also requires regular meetings with NYWW’s operations team so we can review safety and discuss any community concerns.

I also sincerely thank NYWW Chairman Armand Pohan and his team for working with us on the terms of this lease and for their partnership over the past two years.

We look forward to working collaboratively and in partnership with NYWW over the coming months and years.

After five long, hard-fought years, I look forward to what Hoboken awaits at this location, with a beautiful waterfront park that generations of Hoboken residents will enjoy for many years to come. My office will be sure to update local residents on the date of the first public meeting regarding park design and I look forward to engaging with the community on the matter.

I hope this update has been helpful, and thanks again to residents for speaking up and helping us get to this point. Sincerely, Ravi S. Bhalla Mayor

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