Zimmer: 2012 Will Be The Year of Parks
Mayor Dawn Zimmer focused on quality of life issues during her second annual state of the city address.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer reflected on 2011 and focused on quality of life improvements for 2012 in her second annual state of the city address on Wednesday night at the DeBaun Auditorium on the Stevens campus.
In front of a crowd of about 200 people, Zimmer delivered the roughly 30 minute speech. Zimmer was introduced by Stevens Institute of Technology President Nariman Farvardin, who celebrated his one-year anniversary as a Hoboken resident.
"I believe in Hoboken, 2012 will be known as the year of parks," Zimmer said, promising that 1600 Park and Hoboken Cove as well as Frank Sinatra Park will be opened this year. "We finally have the approvals we need, and Frank Sinatra Park and Castle Point will be reopened in 2012. We will be bidding out Frank Sinatra Cafe to transform it and make it a go-to destination for our residents and visitors."
Zimmer also announced upcoming renovations to Jackson Street Park, Jefferson Park, and Legion Park on Willow Avenue.
While last year, Zimmer promised her audience a tax cut, this year she said she wanted to focus on improving quality of life and did not mention reducing taxes. One of such topics on Wednesday night, was the potential of extending New York's 7-train to Hoboken.
"A north Hoboken stop would be more cost effective and better for Hoboken," Zimmer said. "It could be combined with a proposed light rail stop to make it an even stronger transportation connection."
Besides the city's infrastructure, Zimmer said she also wants to improve City Hall's infrastructure, improving the city's website and creating an online service request system. Starting this year, residents will be able to get their parking permits online. After the re-wiring in City Hall is complete, Zimmer said, there will also be a 311 system in place. The city also launched a reverse 911 system recently.
The mayor looked back at a tumultuous year that included Hurricane Irene and the sale of the Hoboken University Medical Center.
"I must say," the mayor said, "2011 was one heck of a year."
And no Hoboken speech is complete without looking at the city's parking problem. While the mayor discussed the creation of 850 new parking spots, the city will be creating a "parking master plan" in 2012.
Present in the auditorium were city directors, the mayor's staffers, political junkies as well as elected officials. Former Mayor David Roberts was in attendance, as well as Assemblyman Ruben Ramos Jr. and Councilmembers Jennifer Giattino, David Mello, Carol Marsh and Beth Mason.
Mason, the only one of the mayor's opponents to attend the address, said she would have liked to hear more statistics and facts.
"I disagree with the budget," Mason said, adding that a 10 percent tax cut was created because "we spent the surplus."
While Mason said she agrees with the mayor on parks and development, she said she has concerns about the public safety in town. Zimmer on Wednesday night said that more Class II officers would be hired, to ensure the safety of the city.
"Jobs and budget are my biggest concerns," Mason said.
Zimmer mentioned the recent opening of Office Depot in Hoboken and said that the city will be announcing the arrival of another large company to Hoboken soon.
"Very soon we will be announcing that a world-class company will be coming to Hoboken," Zimmer said.
On the topic of development, Zimmer said that the city will be appealing the Department of Environmental Protection's permit that was issued to the proposed Monarch at Shipyard development—two eleven-story towers built on one of the city's uptown piers.
"My administration will always do everything it can to ensure that new development is done in a way that does not put unacceptable additional strain on our infrastructure or transform our City from the one we love into somebody else’s development dream," Zimmer said.