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Hoboken Residents Split Over Flood Wall That Could Protect City From Storm Surges

HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A city divided, literally, over flood wall proposals.

Driving along Sinatra Drive it's easy to see why Hoboken residents love their view across the Hudson River to Manhattan, but you can also see how easily it floods.

"The $64,000 question about a flood wall across the edge of the city remains problematic because it would destroy what the city is all about in order to save it," David White told CBS2's Meg Baker.

White and other residents have come out against plans for flood walls in certain areas of the city and successfully won a battle against having a wall built down a block of Garden Street.

The Department of Environmental Protection has rerouted plans.

One option would span the waterfront from Weehawkin to Observer Highway with new flood walls up to 12-ft high.

"I'm against it totally against it, going to ruin the character of our town. I'm a life long resident. We spent a lot of time not being able to see the waterfront and now we can. It's our biggest asset," Larry Sciancalepore said.

Downtown residents remember all to well what happened during Superstorm Sandy, and want some protection put in place.

"You should have seen it. Guys had boats," Millie Rios said.

Rios said even in a rainstorm it floods near the Jackson Houses on 3rd Street.

"It gets very flooded," she said, " Can't pass through because there's water all over the place. You can't even get out of Hoboken."

The surge resistant plans are being developed under a $230-million grant from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Mayor Dawn Zimmerman said she wants to work with the community on the plans.

"Flood protection could come from a landscaped park, boathouse, sidewalk cafe seating, vertical garden or planter, dog park, and more," she said in a statement.

Other options could impact Washington Street at the north end of town with a flood barrier, but these plans do lower the height of the walls along the waterfront and are less costly.

White said he agrees with plas to sure up infrastructure already in place.

"Also improvement of the sewer system, divide sanitary sewers from storm sewers, all of that is necessary," he said.

The majority of people CBS2's Baker spoke to liked the idea of flood barriers on the south end of Hoboken on Observer Highway where the waterfront is not changed.



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