March 5, 2013
On March 9, 2013, the New Jersey Land Conservation Foundation will hold its annual NJ Land Conservation Rally in Newark, New Jersey. The centerpiece of this one-day educational conference will be ten personal stories told by New Jersey residents about their connection to the land. One of these storytellers will be Augusta Przygoda of Hoboken, New Jersey who will relate the dramatic story of the 1990 waterfront referendum that led to the creation of an award-winning public park at Hoboken’s South Waterfront.
For each of these ten stories, there will be a corresponding workshop. Ms. Przygoda’s story will be followed up by a session on Shoreline Resilience led by Helen Manogue and FBW’s Ron Hine. Hoboken’s coastline took a beating during super-storm Sandy. Yet even before Sandy, the city’s shoreline suffered from a series of structural collapses due to faulty engineering and lack of maintenance. Similar problems are evident elsewhere along the path of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway which extends eighteen miles from the Bayonne Bridge to the George Washington Bridge.
Since 2007, Helen Manogue has served as President of the Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that oversees the development and preservation of the walkway working closely with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. She is also founder and Coordinator of the Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition and its Committee for a Green Hoboken.
Ron Hine is the Executive Director of the Fund for a Better Waterfront (FBW). Hine, working with Augusta Przygoda, helped to lead the 1990 and 1992 referendum campaigns that defeated the City of Hoboken/Port Authority development schemes at Hoboken’s South Waterfront. After the dramatic 1990 referendum victory, Hine, Przygoda and others formed FBW which undertook the task of creating a plan for the Hoboken waterfront which called for a continuous, public waterfront park for the entire span of Hoboken’s riverfront.
By 1995, the City of Hoboken adopted a redevelopment plan for Hoboken’s South Waterfront that embraced most of the principles advocated by the FBW plan. The 33-story office tower for Pier A and the 500,000 square feet of residential development on Pier C proposed by the City of Hoboken and Port Authority were replaced by parkland. Both the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Waterfront Center bestowed awards on Pier A Park which today is enjoyed daily by throngs of people from all walks of life.
One of these storytellers will be Augusta Przygoda of Hoboken, New Jersey who will relate the dramatic story of the 1990 waterfront referendum that led to the creation of an award-winning public park at Hoboken’s South Waterfront.
Mr. Hine will present a number of ideas that address Hoboken’s experience during and after Hurricane Sandy. The storm’s surge was responsible for 80% of Hoboken flooding. Making waterfront parks more resilient, developing a comprehensive strategy for stormwater management, and applying remedies developed in other flood-prone areas like New Orleans and the Netherlands will be part of the discussion.
The conference, to be held at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, is expected to attract hundreds of attendees from across the state of New Jersey. The keynote speaker is Peter Harnik, Director of the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence in Washington, D.C. His talk is entitled “Urban Parks: Strengthening the City, Saving the Countryside.”