Categorized | Editorial

EDITORIAL: Baby Steps

With the upcoming election many of the politicians are promising redevelopment of properties in contaminated properties that the city does not own, (Celotex) and redevelopment of the train station (which is owned by NJ Transit). There is also talk of projects such as entertainment centers (which we also mentioned in a previous editorial that we would love to see happen). There is nothing wrong with a lot of the projects mentioned. But these ideas are long term involved projects and as we know not possible without major planning which will take a lot of steps to go through.

Walking down the streets, one can see the wear and tear. The City sewers were built in the 1860’s (by Solomon Andrews). Innovative at its time but outdated now. The sewers and streets cannot withstand such development without being brought up to par. And when is the last time any of these politicians walked downtown to see all the empty storefronts? This is not unique to Perth Amboy. This is going on everywhere in the United States due to the ill effects of post U.S. 9-11 and a national recession.

There is talk about converting the Old Police Station into a community Center with a pool, weight room, etc. that will be of no cost to patrons or the city. That is an extremely tall order. By building a smaller scaled-down facility that duplicates the services of the YMCA while at the same time taking what is desirable at the YMCA for other towns to come here and use – what is the point? The YMCA is established and here already. How are these politicians going to build a pool, make the facility ADA compliant and obtain equipment and maintain a facility at no cost to the City or its Patrons. Electricity, Water, Maintenance, Personnel, etc.? Free is not free. Someone has to foot the bill.

Some of the politicians say that the YMCA is of heavy cost to its members. First of all, the fees are not exorbitant. The YMCA is not an independent entity. It is part of a national organization. Many other cities have one. Why can’t we? The YMCA has been in Perth Amboy for over 100 years. It offers plenty of programs to the public: members and non-members. It serves ages from infant to the elderly.

The politicians talk about the Celotex Site. What makes these politicians think that they can do something with that land? Joe Vas could not touch that land in the 18 years he was in office.

1. As of now, the Site is heavily contaminated. There was an EPA report to prove this.

2. It is a historic site. An archeological survey has to be done before any development is done. This will cost money.

3. The land is privately owned by a company in California. They have not sold it yet.

What about Perth Amboy the next Silicon Valley? Businesses willing to come to Perth Amboy will do so no matter who is Mayor. If Perth Amboy offers these businesses what they need, they will come.

Perth Amboy has four important commodities:

1. Centralized location (near all major hwys – Rte 1 & 9, 287, Turnpike & Parkway) plus the Raritan River Waterway and the Northeast Coastline (train)

2. The Waterfront

3. Historical Sites

4. The YMCA

What Perth Amboy should be doing is to capitalize on the resources that it has.

Clean up the beach, clean up the water. Find out what industries are polluting the water and get the EPA to bring a stop to it. Make the water swimmable again. Charge a small fee for the beach. This will draw businesses to the waterfront such as novelty shops, souvenir shops, boat tours, just to name a few.

As far as the historical sites that are presently being neglected, we can bring in revenue by capitalizing on these resources. Perth Amboy can be turned around by promoting these places as points of interest.

Confucius said: “The journey of 1000 miles begins with but a single step.” Let’s start with that first step of the long journey. Whomever is elected should not be haunted by empty promises that he/she is unable to deliver in 4 years. Remember the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.

This is not to discourage anyone who may have grand plans for Perth Amboy. But remember there may be bumps in the road along the way and it’s how you handle those bumps that will determine how you are judged by the people. That can include not only the residents but people who may want to invest in the city.

Whomever gets elected Mayor for 2013 should remember this.

P.S. Just remember the public safety complex was budgeted at $35 million and ballooned into $90 million.

C.M., K.M. P.W.

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