Dear Friend,

I hope you’re doing well and enjoying the start to spring! I write to provide some important updates for our community, and an ask to support Governor Phil Murphy’s re-election campaign.

Signing Governor Murphy’s re-election petition

Over the past three and a half years, Governor Phil Murphy has been there for Hoboken through thick and thin. His administration has helped secure resources for our transportation initiatives, allocated significant funding for our park projects, pushed forward Rebuild by Design, and most recently has been a strong partner in the fight against the pandemic. And I’m confident that we’re in the final stages of working with his team on a positive resolution to acquiring Union Dry dock for the purpose of public, open space.

I’m proud to support the Governor’s re-election campaign, but he now needs our help –  could you take a couple minutes to sign his petition to place him on the ballot for the upcoming Democratic Primary? You simply need to fill out your name, address, and hit submit.

Click here to add your name.

Expansion of vaccines

Thanks to the support of the Governor, County Executive DeGise and Commissioner Anthony Romano, we’ve been able to secure 1,100 Pfizer vaccines for Hoboken – significantly increasing our weekly supply. We’ll continue to work tirelessly to expand our vaccine allocation in Hoboken, so anyone who wants a vaccine can receive one. To date, nearly 5,000 total vaccine doses have been given to residents at Carepoint, while over 13,000 doses have been administered to residents across the State. I’m hopeful that our local pharmacies and medical clinics will soon get access to the vaccine as well and increase points of distribution within Hoboken.

When it’s your turn, please help protect yourself and our community and get vaccinated.

Hoboken seniors after getting vaccinated at Carepoint.

$27 million for Hoboken and funding for food establishments

Earlier this month, Hoboken was provided $27 million from the American Rescue Plan, one of the most consequential pieces of legislation passed at the federal level of our lifetime. We’ll be soon allocating this money for our recovery efforts, which will include a rental relief fund, further funding for our small businesses and mom and pop shops, non-profits, expanding our vaccine distribution efforts, and more. We’ll be providing updates and ways to apply for this funding in the coming weeks.

Additionally, last week Senator Bob Menendez also came to Hoboken to share the news at Madison Bar and Grill, that food establishments in Hoboken and across the country will have access to an additional round of stimulus funding, opening up a lifeline to struggling business owners. A total of $28.6 million through the American Rescue Plan has been set aside specifically for food establishments, funding that Senator Menendez, Senator Booker and Congressman Sires fought hard for. Help is on the way, and I thank Dave Carney from Madison Bar and Grill, Anthony Pino from Bin 14 and Anthony David’s, and Grace Sciancalepore from Leo’s Grandevous for joining us for the announcement.

Showing support for Hoboken Asian American businesses

Senator Menendez joined Councilwoman Emily Jabbour, Commissioner Anthony Romano and me to stop by locally owned bakery Baking Mama last week. I thank them for standing in solidarity with our Asian American community and business owners, who make up the very best of our community. While the horrific acts of violence taking the lives of six Asian American women took place far from Hoboken in Georgia, it hit home for many members of our community.

Joining Tina Rivera on Friday from Baking Mama to show support for our Asian American communities.

In Hoboken, a fair and welcoming City, we will continue to stand up for, protect and celebrate our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and small businesses. One of the best ways to show your support is to shop local at our many Asian American businesses, like Baking Mama. Check out several here through Hoboken Girl.

Expanded outdoor dining continues in Hoboken

As we enter the warmer weather, my administration is glad to once again support our businesses with another season of expanded outdoor dining. Our parklets, streateries, and expanded outdoor sidewalk cafes have been widely popular in our Mile Square, and provide a safer outdoor experience for customers.

Here’s Leo’s Grandevous, Hoboken’s oldest restaurant, constructing our Mile Square’s newest parklet:

Launching CitiBike in coming weeks

Hoboken is getting ready to introduce CitiBike to our Mile Square! I’m personally very excited to launch CitiBike by early May, and Parking and Transportation Director Ryan Sharp and his staff have been working diligently with staff from Lyft to make this possible. We look forward to sharing additional details on this new program soon, which I’m proud to say we’ve followed through on after listening to continued resident feedback. By May 3, Lyft will phase in approximately 200 bikes and 15 stations within Hoboken, and we’ll have a total of 300 bikes and 29 stations installed by the summer.

Expanding Hoboken’s Southwest Park

My administration is in the final stages of negotiations with Academy Bus on an agreement to acquire Block 10 to double the size of our current Southwest Park. As opposed to utilizing eminent domain, we have been working on a proposed acquisition that is acceptable to both sides at a fair price, which will avoid litigation and the extra costs associated with it. I look forward to sharing details of this proposal in the coming weeks, and it’s my hope that we can soon have a pop-up park at Block 10 to begin utilizing it before a permanent park is built – similar to the Northwest pop-up park before construction began.

Rebuild by Design project to kick-off

I’m glad to share that construction on Hoboken’s historic $230 million Rebuild by Design project will soon begin. This is one of the most consequential climate change adaptation projects in the entire country, and when complete, will provide comprehensive flood protection from storm surge events like Superstorm Sandy. The project will be integrated into the urban landscape of our community, including a public park at Harborside Cove that incorporates the flood protection in a way that blends into the park amenities.

A rendering of a new park at Harborside Cove that incorporates above ground flood protection into the park’s amenities.

We’ll be hosting a public meeting later this month to go over some of the construction impacts, as well as some of the initial steps of the projects including sewer upgrades and underground infrastructure work.

I’m grateful to Governor Murphy and his team at the Department of Environmental Protection, as well as to former Mayor Dawn Zimmer for their steadfast support of this project.

I look forward to updating you on future projects to come. As always, to stay up to date on our government initiatives and news updates, please subscribe to the City’s Nixle email alerts at http://www.hobokennj.gov/alerts.

Sincerely,

Ravi S. Bhalla