HOBOKEN, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, chair of the Sandy Task Force and the ranking member of the Senate’s housing subcommittee, and Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla led U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Region II Administrator Lynne Patton on a tour Monday of the city’s groundbreaking “Rebuild By Design” resiliency project. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Catherine McCabe, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner and representatives from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and U.S. Senator Cory Booker’s office also took part.
“After Sandy devastated our state, it was clear that New Jersey communities needed to take bold steps to protect their residents and property from the threat of future flooding and more powerful and more frequent storms. I was proud to support and secure $230 million in federal funding for Hoboken’s ‘Rebuild By Design’ project. It is the kind of long-term, comprehensive approach to flood mitigation and resiliency that can serve as a model for other urban areas grappling with repetitive flooding,” said Sen. Menendez. “I want to thank Administrator Patton and her team for their interest in and commitment to seeing Hoboken’s ‘Rebuild By Design’ project through to completion.”
“I am incredibly grateful to HUD Regional Administrator Lynne Patton, Senator Menendez, and their staff for coming to Hoboken to tour our resiliency projects and for their strong support for Rebuild by Design. With the leadership of Ms. Patton, Senator Menendez, and our federal and state elected officials, Hoboken will become a model for creating critical flood infrastructure that can be replicated across the country. We look forward to a continued partnership with HUD as we break ground on construction for Rebuild by Design later this year,” said Mayor Bhalla.
Hoboken’s “Rebuild By Design” features a series of seawalls, state-of-the-art green spaces and resiliency parks, water pumps and sewer system upgrades.
HUD launched “Rebuild By Design” in June 2013—a multi-stage planning and design competition to promote resiliency in Sandy-affected areas and innovation by developing regionally-scalable but locally-contextual solutions that increase resilience in the region. New Jersey was awarded two separate grants in 2014: $230 million for Hoboken and $150 million to a resiliency project in the New Jersey Meadowlands, both areas that suffered severe flooding from Sandy.
“Superstorm Sandy took the lives of no less than 37 New Jersey residents and caused more than $30 billion dollars in damage. One of the most powerful images seared in the memory of millions of Americans was the endless cascade of water flowing down the steps of the PATH station right here in Hoboken—a city underwater,” said Lynne Patton, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey. “Through HUD’s $230 million award, Hoboken, Weehawken, and Jersey City are ensuring their residents will never suffer from such a nightmare again. Thanks to proactive elected officials such as Senators Menendez and Booker, as well as Mayors Bhalla and Turner, this pioneering project by Rebuild by Design will improve the physical, ecological, economic and social resiliency of the great Garden State.”
The tour featured stops at Weehawken Cove and Harborside Park on 15th and Garden Streets, the Alleyway Resist Alignment between 14th and 15th Streets, Northwest Resiliency Park at Madison and 12th Streets, the Hoboken Housing Authority, and the New Jersey Transit Yards along Observer Highway.
Last week, Sen. Menendez and Mayor Bhalla announced $14 million in federal grants to complete construction of Northwest Resiliency Park, the country’s largest known resiliency park once completed with above ground green infrastructure and an underground water detention system that together can withhold nearly two million gallons of rainwater and runoff.
Sen. Menendez shepherded through Congress the original $60 billion Sandy aid package and is the leading advocate for sweeping reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that include unprecedented federal investment in flood mitigation and resiliency.