Hoboken mayor fights for new park space on land owned by bus company

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Hoboken officials have taken a big step to acquire an acre of land that they want to turn into a park in the southwestern section of the city.

The property is owned by the Academy Bus company, which wants to develop the land. But this is something that Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla and former Mayor Dawn Zimmer are fighting to stop.

Bhalla and Zimmer say that the paved lot has been used for years. They say that it would be a great place to expand on the park that is across the street. The plan is to expand Hoboken's Southwest Resiliency Park which opened two years ago.

“We are literally doubling the size of the Southwest Park,” Bhalla says.

Zimmer says that an expanded park is something that Hoboken desperately needs.

“We need more park space in this neighborhood … we have a challenging traffic issue in this neighborhood and we cannot overdevelop,” she says.

The city approved eminent domain of the land in 2017. Bhalla says that he has given Academy enough time to negotiate a fair deal. So, the mayor, calling it a last resort, he filed on Wednesday the official action to acquire the land for $5.3 million.

“Academy has been pushing, pushing under my administration and under Mayor Bhalla - and I'm thrilled that we’re just moving forward,” Zimmer says.

Like the existing Southwest Park, the new section will be built with ground green infrastructure, designed to reduce flooding.

But officials say that there is still a lot of legal work to get done. They will also hold public meetings over the next few months to determine what the park will look like. A timeline for its opening has not been set.

News 12 New Jersey reached out to Academy Bus for comment, but did not get a response.

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