Ferry Terminal Project On Hold After Archeological Findings
2/1/17 Business Meeting
By: Joseph L. Kuchie
SOUTH AMBOY – The South Amboy City Council covered a number of topics in what Council President Mickey Gross called a “very productive” business meeting.
Mayor Henry announced that the city had a $700,000 surplus in the 2016 budget. He thanked the city council and Business Administrator Camille Tooker, and said it was time for everyone to take notice on how well the city has been doing.
“This is about four or five years in a row that we’ve done very well with that, and I think it’s time for people to come in to look at what we have been doing and looking at our bond rating and making sure that it gets improved because what we have been doing the past few years has been incredible.”
“I’d like to thank Camille for all the hard work she does, she does the day to day work here, her and [CFO] Angel Albanese put together great budgets…It’s just good news that we have.”
Business Administrator Camille Tooker gave an update on the ferry terminal project, which has been temporarily put on hold after construction works discovered historical artifacts beneath the site.
“Looking back years ago when we first started this project, there was a memorandum of agreement between the city and State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO),” Tooker said. “Under this agreement we have to have an archeological firm there constantly in case they find something. When they did find this of course SHPO was notified.”
“Hunter Research, which is the archeological firm that is charged with the monitoring of the project…they have elevated the archeological side so now they have to put together a plan and determine what it is they found,” she added.
“They think it is a railroad turntable where they used to turn the engines and also they found a row of not only sleeper stones but other stones that go under the sleeper stones,” she said. “What they have to do is not only unearth the area where the turntable is but they also are charged with following that rail bed to see how far it goes.”
“It may delay us a little, but we all have to remember it’s all very important historically,” she said. “Nobody thought we were going to find something like this.”
“South Amboy has a rich history, especially with the railroading, and you never know what you going to find, even in South Amboy,” Mayor Henry said. “Unfortunately it delayed things down there but it’s not too long because the state has to come in, check out and categorize everything and we just move on from there.”
The city also discussed a resolution disapproving the Federal Highway Administration’s request to remove the thin blue line down Broadway from Main Street to Bordentown Ave. in support of the city’s police officers.
The Federal Highway Administration released a directive that said that all towns participating needs to remove it because the blue paint used for the line is “confusing” because it’s the same blue color as handicapped parking.
“We’re doing this because there were over 100 police officers last year in the line of duty, it was open season on police, they’ve been through a lot, we want to show our support. This line does not affect any county road, state road, highway, or federal road.”
The council unanimously agreed to pass the resolution so the city could send it back to the state in support of the blue line staying in place.
Councilman Tom Reilly is in the process of trying to get a baseball field in the city dedicated to the late John Skarzynski. Skarzynski was a long-time official in South Amboy in multiple sports with at least 50 years of dedication to the city.
Reilly asked that if anyone knows of any fields that are not dedicated to anyone or available to be dedicated to reach out.
All council members were in attendance for the business meeting. The next city council meeting will be held on February 15th at 7:00 p.m.