HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – On a sunny day, the waterfront parks of Hoboken are packed with people.
“We have a nice waterfront here in Hoboken,” resident Muhammad Altassan said.
“I like the view of the city, of Manhattan,” said resident Mark Kunz.”
The mayor and city council would like to fully connect the walkways along Sinatra Drive, but a dry dock stands in the way.
“The mayor and almost 92 percent of Hoboken residents want to see that as an open space, a park, as part of our continuous waterfront,” Hoboken communications manager Santiago Melli-Huber told CBS2’s Meg Baker.
The dry dock is one of the last industrial sites left on the riverfront in the city. The controversy?
It’s currently vacant, but owned by New York Waterways. Hoboken wants to acquire the property to complete its park. If Hoboken can’t buy it, the city will take it by eminent domain in the interest of the public, Baker reported.
New Jersey TRANSIT is stepping in to help the ferry company, taking a vote this week to buy the land and lease it back to the ferry for boat repairs. Since NJ TRANSIT is a state agency, the city cannot take it by eminent domain.
New York Waterway is losing its current repair dock in Weehwaken this summer.
Last week, the ferry company handed out fliers to passengers, saying it’s always here for you when trains and buses aren’t working.
“They want to use eminent domain to seize our new maintenance facility property in Hoboken – a move that would cost taxpayers millions and make it nearly impossible to keep our ferries running smoothly, safely and on time,” the fliers read.
Melli-Huber said it won’t costs taxpayers, because the funds already exist in an open public space trust fund.
While many residents Baker spoke with supported the city takeover, others said Hoboken already has a lot of park space to offer. Their commute is important, so ferries are vital, especially on days when the PATH or trains go out of service.
New York Waterways would not comment on the story Monday. Gov. Phil Murphy said he is working with all parties involved to find a solution.