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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. . 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.

CaptJackd January 19, 2013 at 05:26 PM
Expand, improve, fund-raise, give it a name.
janice esposito January 20, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Haven't heard anything more on the 25 cartons of jackets from major league baseball stolen from the multi center. ????
CuriousGal January 21, 2013 at 03:21 PM
I'm not expecting a lot from an administration that can't put in a stop light, maintain park space along a river, install the 3 other promised pumping stations, or do much except to point fingers and shun responsibility. Having no timeline for when reconstruction will begin and not being clear when OR IF any changes will happen at this Community and Recreational Center is yet another low point for the current administration. I wish the Health and Human Services Director would be the proactive problem solver and innovative leader that I think he could be instead of the excuse driven, PR prompted, mouthpiece for an inept administration that he is being required to be. The Director is in great position to explain to the City Council the need for an emergency bond issue, lead the effort in getting the Center up and running and if FEMA funds come in, great. Unfortunately, he would rather get into verbal jousts with Councilman Occupanti about what areas of 4th Street Park dedicated to young children are called and the color of the fencing surrounding such areas ("we don't have a Toddler Park"; "purple"? "green"? ) . So, we wait with little reason to hope while this wonderfully diverse community of BNR's and new comers, populated by many senior citizens and HHA residents, lose their health, athletic, social, and educational epicenter. “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job”
HudsonStreet January 22, 2013 at 06:10 AM
Sad that Beth Mason has had to suround herself with prople like of CouriousGal.
pdq January 22, 2013 at 02:31 PM
I expect there will be many "friends" sporting them in the spring, just ike the HHS championship football rings and jackets. Saw those on a school board member or two.
pdq January 22, 2013 at 02:46 PM
The mayor put some of these very issues on the table for approval and the city council majority supported them. The very people you support-Mason, Russo, Occhipinti and Castellano voted against them. Due to the 5th vote needed, nothing could be done. I would think you would be very happy that nothing could be done on the issues your buddies voted not to have done. But here you are complaining about it and even more ironic, blaming the exact side who wanted to get these intiative implemented. It was Mr. Occhipinti who wanted to get into verbal jousts wit hthe director over the purple and green parks. Hoboken has a health , athletic, social and educational center? Since when? I certainly hope you are not talking about the multi-service center which only offers one gym space and one cafeteria space for 50 thousand residents. Given all of the over development occuring in Hoboken in the 90's-2007, Don't you think the residents should have been provided a community center and a town pool , at the very minimum?
puzzledone January 22, 2013 at 03:47 PM
You mean the park space along the river that the administration is suing over, that Beth Mason voted to defund the litigation before she asked for a revote so she could change her answer? Seems if the council minority can't make their mind up for a single vote, they shouldn't be trusted with important topics.
puzzledone January 22, 2013 at 03:55 PM
BTW, wasn't it Councilman "Occupanti" that suggested that it wasn't like people's homes were razed to the ground, and that Hoboken didn't have it that bad. Perhaps he should suggest that his constituency simply use the multi-service center as it is. As for the stop light, believe that "Occupanti" voted against bonding for that simple expense, and now he and his cronies are writing letters to 411 about the inability to get it done. Of course, if it required a line item budget transfer, that would have also caused him to no-vote given his history.
CuriousGal January 23, 2013 at 12:21 PM
The reference to the MultiRecreational center being the epicenter was not for all of Hoboken but rather for the area which it surrounds, specifically the southwestern part of town. As many will recall, the Service Center was yet another "old guard" contribution to the life of the city-- feel free to add to that list such things as Church Towers, Clock Towers, Pier A, Applied Housing, Sinatra Park, the revitalization of the Little League Field, the building of the new Wallace School, Marine View Towers, the Crosstown bus (renamed "the hop"), the High School Athletic Field (astroturf and lights), Fox Hill senior citizen housing, Columbia Arms senior housing etc... This administration can't install a stop light while sitting on millions in surplus dollars. No progress on the 3 other promised pumping stations. Please, you bully blogger/reformers are much better at making excuses and eyeing past accomplishments with envy than actually producing anything positive for the community. Continue to blame, accuse, dismiss, name call, present half-truths, and spread blatant lies-- at the end of the day, its really the only thing the so so called reformers are good at.
HudsonStreet January 25, 2013 at 05:45 PM
Sad that Beth Mason has had to surround herself with people like CuriousGai.
HudsonStreet January 25, 2013 at 05:51 PM
The good news today is that Hoboken has been given a $210K grant from the Robin Hood Fund to help in the rebuilding of the Multi Service Center.

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