Back to work on Sybil's Cave project, Roberts says, as problems ironed out

Back to work on Sybil's Cave project, Roberts says, as problems ironed out

Wednesday, June 27, 2007  JJ
HOBOKEN - Standing in front of a mound of earth and plywood that now blocks the entrance to the historic Sybil's Cave, Mayor David Roberts announced that the first phase of the city's plan to reclaim the archeological site is back on course.

Progress on the project to restore the cave on Frank Sinatra Drive, at the foot of the cliff below Stevens Institute, has faced several glitches, including safety concerns, stop-work orders - issued by the city's own construction officials - and insurance concerns from the landowner.

The first phase is estimated to cost between $50,000 and $70,000 and includes 6-foot fencing, an iron gate at the mouth of the cave, a stone replica of the original gothic-style facade, landscaping, and four lights to match those across the street.

The second phase would require work to prevent rock falls from the cliff, opening the cave to the public and providing access to the area immediately in front of the cave.

The spring water of the 20-foot-deep cave was considered medicinal in the 19th Century and wealthy New Yorkers were said to have paid a penny a glass to drink it after the cave opened in 1832.

When a newly formed Health Board determined the water to be unfit for human consumption, the area became a tavern, then later a home for squatters.

Chief Construction Official Alfred Arezzo issued a stop-work order a few weeks ago, because Stevens Institute, which owns the land, had not provided him with a signed approval of the work, according to news reports. Phone calls to Stevens were not returned yesterday.

Arezzo also cited safety and lack of traffic study.

Police Chief Carmen LaBruno, appointed by Roberts to head up the project, said that permits were not necessary because the city was only clearing up the site. He also said the city is conducting a "minor traffic study," but a more comprehensive study is not necessary because the public will not now have access to the site.

City officials said Stevens Institute had wanted indemnification against any injuries that occurred as a result of the project. City and school attorneys are now close to signing a deal, LaBruno said.

"We all love the history of the city," Roberts said. "This project was something we were determined to do."

Comments (0)

New comments are currently disabled.

Email to Friend

Fill in the form below to send this article to a friend:

Email to Friend
* Your Name:
* Your Email:
* Friend's Name:
* Friend's Email:
* Security Image:
Security Image Generate new
Copy the numbers and letters from the security image
* Message: