February 24, 2020

Senator Menendez, Mayor Bhalla announce $14 million in federal funding to build flood infrastructure, Northwest Resiliency Park

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and Hoboken Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla today announced the awarding of an historic, combined $14 million in funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to improve Hoboken’s infrastructure and complete construction of Northwest Resiliency Park to protect the city from future flooding.  Superstorm Sandy devastated Hoboken in 2012, and areas of the city continue to endure repetitive flooding from heavy rains

Once completed, the new, five-acre park will become the country’s largest known resiliency park with above ground green infrastructure and an underground water detention system that together can withhold nearly two million gallons of rainwater and runoff.  It will reduce the number of combined sewer overflow events in Northwest Hoboken by more than 90%, from four a month to four a year.  

A $10 million FEMA grant will fund construction of state-of-the-art resiliency features in Northwest Resiliency Park that will substantially mitigate flooding in Northwest Hoboken.  A separate, $4 million grant provided to the North Hudson Sewerage Authority (NHSA) will fund completion of stormwater infrastructure upgrades in areas adjacent to the park.  The New Jersey State Police Office of Emergency Management will administer the FEMA grants to the City of Hoboken.

“This ambitious, innovative project will improve the lives of Hoboken families, children, and seniors by better protecting this community from flooding that is occurring more and more frequently,” said Sen. Menendez.  “Sandy taught us that it’s a heck of a lot more expensive to rebuild in the aftermath of destructive storms than it is prevent costly floods in the first place.  That’s why I’ve been fighting to make new federal investments in forward-looking mitigation projects like Northwest Resiliency Park.  When we talk about spending taxpayer dollars wisely, investing in resilience really pays off.  In fact every dollar spent on flood prevention and mitigation generates another six dollars in savings.”    

“This $14 million in funding is a win for Hoboken and our state’s efforts to protect vulnerable communities from flooding that often accompanies storms and related weather events,” said Governor Murphy.  “The Northwest Resiliency Park, which will become New Jersey’s largest resiliency park upon completion, represents the type of innovative infrastructure needed to mitigate the impacts of sea-level rise and global warming. I commend Senator Menendez, Senator Booker, and Congressman Sires for their leadership and advocacy at the federal level to secure this critical funding.”

“This is an historic day for the City of Hoboken,” said Mayor Bhalla.  “Hoboken’s Northwest Resiliency Park isn’t just a regional or state-wide example for combating heavy flooding events, it will become an innovative model for the rest of the country.  The grant we are receiving will play a critical role in funding our five-acre resiliency park that will finally provide relief to the chronic flooding that too often impacts residents in Northwest Hoboken.  The infrastructure to combat heavy rain events, combined with the state-of-the-art amenities in the park, will dramatically improve the quality of life for our community.  I’m extremely thankful to our federal elected officials, Governor Murphy and his administration, and all project stakeholders for making this grant award possible.”

"Hazard mitigation is a shared responsibility requiring a whole community approach," said New Jersey State Police Col. Patrick Callahan.  "The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management will continue to work in partnership with communities throughout the State as we strive to continue this momentum of shared success."
Resiliency features of Hoboken’s Northwest Resiliency Park include:

• A 1 million gallon underground storage tank to collect rainwater during storms

• A 50,000 gallon underground cistern to collect and reuse rainwater to irrigate the lawn and plants in the park

• Above-ground green infrastructure, including trees, stormwater gardens, native plantings, and more, to store up to 750,000 gallons of surface stormwater

• Eight drainage areas to collect rainwater

The park will also include a number of active amenities: playground equipment for children of all ages; a multi-purpose athletic field; basketball court; ice-skating rink; fountain; play valley; and fitness loop.  Passive park amenities will include a large lawn, park pavilion, lowland gardens, and seating areas.

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.  As chair of the Sandy Task Force and the ranking member of the Senate’s housing subcommittee, he helped secure $230 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to complete a bold, innovative flood resiliency project in Hoboken, Weehawken and the surrounding neighborhoods known as Hudson River Rebuild by Design (RBD).  

Northwest Resiliency Park will become the most significant part of RBD’s “delay, store and discharge” strategy through the above and below ground flood infrastructure, which protects Hoboken from heavy rainfall flooding.  

The park will be constructed without any impact on Hoboken’s 2020 municipal budget.  Aside from the federal grants, additional funding will come from dedicated Open Space Trust funding from Hoboken and Hudson County, and low interest and interest free loans from the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank with principal forgiveness due to the flood infrastructure within the park.