And unlike Pier A park - where visitors come to sit on the grass or the benches - Pier C park will be chock full of amenities, including a municipal swimming pool, an ice skating rink, concessions stands, tennis courts, a running track, a covered pavilion, a children's play area and public bathrooms.
At a news conference announcing plans for the new Pier C, which city officials estimate will take two years and $23 million to build, Mayor Anthony Russo called the Olympic-sized municipal swimming pool the "crown jewel" of the new plans.
The pool will not cost taxpayer money, but will be built with a grant from a non-profit foundation.
And this is no ordinary pool. Rather than being laid in the ground, the pool will be laid in a hollowed out barge that is expected to be moored to either the southern or eastern edge of the re-built pier. The floating pool, which will contain cabanas for people to change in, is expected to cost $2 million to construct.
"When all is said and done, we will be the municipality with the largest access to the waterfront in New Jersey," Russo told the City Council Wednesday during a presentation on the proposal. "This proves that we are the number one place to live in the state if not just the number one place to live."
The smiles on most City Council members' faces became even broader when they found out that that the city's taxpayers were not going to be asked to contribute to the construction of the new park.
The bulk of the demolition and reconstruction expenses will be picked up by the Port Authority, city officials said. The Port Authority has already handed over $78 million to the city to redevelop the southern waterfront in an effort to fulfill a congressional mandate instructing them to work with the city to try and breathe new life into the area.
City officials announced that an additional $21 million has been added to pay for the pier's redevelopment and that there may be as much as $20 million more coming.
Costs for building the park have been driven up, in part, by the dismal condition that the 700-foot long by 350-foot wide pier is in now. It lies fenced-off, half submerged in the water like a piece of an aircraft carrier that refuses to sink.
Demolition alone is expected to cost between $6 million and $9 million and may require the use of floating cranes, according to Bob Drasheff, the city's department of human services director, who oversees waterfront redevelopment issues. Once it is re-built it is expected to extend to only approximately half of its current length. City officials have also found a private funding stream to pay for the floating swimming pool. A Rockefeller Brothers-backed non-profit organization known as the Neptune Foundation has agreed to raise the $2 million necessary to design and build the pool.
History of floating pools
Ann Buttenwieser, the president of the foundation and a former parks official in New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's administration, was on hand at the press conference Wednesday to explain how her organization had become a part of this project.
"At one time there were 15 floating pools in the Hudson and East rivers," said Buttenwieser. "The first one was opened in 1834."
These pools had slats on the bottom of them that allowed river water to fill them, she explained. By 1935 the last of them was closed due to the gradual deterioration of the river's water quality and the increasing popularity of inground pools.
"I got wind of these types of pools in 1980 and I have been interested in building one ever since," said Buttenwieser.
At first, the Neptune Foundation president approached Giuliani with a proposal to build this sort of a pool in Manhattan, but it seems that New York City officials were not as keen as officials in Hoboken. Once the Hoboken pool is built, city officials said they expected to see similar pools spring up in New York City. Proposals to build them at West 125th Street in Manhattan and between Kent and Milton streets in Brooklyn are currently being considered.
Since the pool is being built with private funds, the city is under no legal obligation to open it up to anyone other than Hoboken residents. Exactly who will be allowed to use the pool and who won't is a question that city officials have yet to work out.
The new park at Pier C is not the only construction taking place along the waterfront. Castle Point Park, another about-to-be-built park, is also slated for construction soon. The park, which features hiker/biker lanes, park benches and a pavilion, will lie just north of Sinatra Park on land that the Stevens Institute of Technology has leased to the city for 100 years for one dollar.
"The most exciting element here is a 100-foot fisherman's pier," said Drasheff recently in reference to a pier that will be constructed to jut out from the park. "You'll be able to see from there down to the Verrazano Bridge." Construction is expected to be completed by October.
In other news, Jack Carbone, an attorney the city has hired to handle negotiations related to waterfront redevelopment issues, said that the city was "very close" to signing a deal with a developer to build an office building and a hotel on Pier B.
With construction of a residential building on land in front of Pier C well underway, and construction of an office building on land in front of Pier A just beginning, city officials seemed to feel confident Wednesday that the much-talked about redevelopment of the southern waterfront was at last becoming a reality. "Once Pier B is done, the southern waterfront will be deemed complete," said Carbone.