Occhipinti to Present Petition for New Park
Fourth Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti is proposing to acquire three lots in the southwest and build a park there.
Fourth Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti has announced he will bring a petition with more than 350 signatures to the Hoboken City Council meeting on Wednesday night, with the goal"to turn vacant lots at First and Jackson Streets into open space," according to a press release on Tuesday night.
The land in question are owned by the Zakalma family. The building — formerly Nardine's — at First and Jackson Streets burned down in a fire in December 2011.
“In our urban landscape, we need as much open space as possible - especially here in Southwest Hoboken,” said Occhipinti. “I’m sick and tired of those who make open space promises while running for office and then turn their back on our community when it comes time to take action."
In an open letter to the community earlier in the week, Mayor Dawn Zimmer wrote that the city doesn't have the financial resources to acquire the land.
"The three Zaklama properties, which total only about 0.35 acres," Zimmer wrote, "are zoned for residential use, and would be extremely costly to acquire. The largest lot, which is less than 0.25 acres, has an asking price of $4.3 million, or over $17 million per acre."
Occhipinti's press release is the second in three weeks — which is more than usual. While no announcement has been made, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation have said that Occhipinti is preparing a run for mayor in November.
Occhipinti has neither confirmed or denied any aspirations to run for mayor.
The next step in Occhipinti's plan, according to his press release, is to get the Administration to submit a resolution at the next City Council meeting to hire an appraiser to determine fair market value of the properties.
Occhipinti said that the city has two ways to pay for land: "the $3 million Hudson County Trust Fund Grant and the $20 million bond authorization by the City Council approved in the spring of 2011. For years, residents have been taxed by both Hudson County and the City for open space - with no new parks added to our neighborhoods."
The matter is scheduled to be discussed during Wednesday night's Hoboken City Council meeting.