Hoboken Multi-Service Center In Recovery Limbo
Health and Human Services Director Leo Pellegrini said there is no timeline for when the rebuilding process will begin.
Nearly three months after Sandy, Hoboken's Multi-Service Center is testament to the long rebuilding process.
Inside, all of the walls on the first floor have been ripped out halfway up from the ground, exposing the framing underneath. Waterlogged furniture, files, and other materials have been cleared away. Orange traffic cones block off entrance to rooms off of the lobby.
Other than a few men talking to a police officer, the once bustling community center is quiet.
Health and Human Services Director Leo Pellegrini said there is currently no timeline for when reconstruction will begin on what the insurance company has estimated at $844,000 in damages with a $500,000 deductible. The city is waiting to see how much FEMA will cover, and has hired an architect to draw up plans for renovation.
"It all depends on which direction we want to go," Pellegrini said. "Do we want to make changes or do we want to renovate the place for right now?"
While he is still in talks with the administration about how to approach the rebuilding project, Pellegrini believes it could be the right time for the city to consider expanding and improving the facility.
"I think that right now we struggle to have a community room where we can hold meetings," he said. "We're always struggling for space, so this is an ideal time to redesign to accomodate those things."
The struggle for space has only increased after Sandy. Pellegrini said the gym and the second floor are still useable, but many services that once operated out of the center, including a day care and two clinics, have been displaced. Without a working elevator, senior activities like bingo have been moved across town to the Elks Club and only for a few days a week.
Pellegrini said he also wants to build back "smarter," to mitigate the chronic flooding problems that plague the center even during a heavy rainfall. He believes that's where FEMA might come in.
"Even in Irene, it was hit significantly and it wasn't that big of a storm," Pellegrini said. "This is an opportunity to make some changes."
However, it is still not clear when or if that will happen.