Yesterday, Hoboken Mayor David Roberts cut the ribbon to officially open the waterfront park at Maxwell Place. What has been in the works since early 2001, prior to Roberts being elected Mayor, is now becoming a reality. The first phase of this park includes a natural beach with a public boathouse, an earthen peninsula that provides a path for the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, and a children’s play area.
This park is noteworthy for several reasons. The fact that the developers devoted more than 1/3 of their land for a public park is unprecedented along New Jersey’s Hudson River “gold coast” where developers have sought to keep as much of this valuable land for their own use as possible. No variances or increased densities were granted to the developers in exchange for this land which now belongs to the City of Hoboken. In addition, Maxwell Place Park, which will be about five acres when completed, provides a significant addition to Hoboken’s continuous, linear waterfront park. Hoboken’s opportunity to complete this waterfront park for its entire 1.5 mile length, unimpeded by any large-scale private buildings, is now one important step closer.
The Fund for a Better Waterfront (FBW) is responsible for both the original concept of a continuous, public waterfront park for Hoboken (part of its plan for the Hoboken waterfront created in 1990) and the proposal at the Maxwell Place site to dedicate the land on the riverside of Sinatra Drive North for a public park. In 2001, after many years of knocking heads with developers elsewhere on the waterfront, FBW forged a close working relationship with the original developers of the Maxwell House property. The end result of this partnership was a plan for this site that included this public waterfront park.
A number of experts were brought in under the direction of FBW — a planner, a land conservation expert, a landscape designer, a marine engineer and an attorney — to execute the park plan for the Maxwell House site. The agreement included an estimated $9.5 million investment on the part of the developers to build the park to a standard unrivaled by any other park projects in the region. The agreement also included a commitment by the private developers for the Maxwell Place project to cover, in perpetuity, the annual maintenance costs.