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Council Members & Residents Discuss Improvement For the City

9/20/17 South Amboy Council Meeting

SOUTH AMBOY – Councilman Thomas Reilly discussed the results (pros and cons) of the recent study that Rutgers did on the City of South Amboy. Reilly explained the last time South Amboy drew up a Master Plan was in 2004. “The Rutgers Study indicated that a walkway should be extended to the Waterfront. Parking problems still exist in the City. More signage is needed to highlight the historic sights and points of interest. The Business Improvement District and Historical Commission are positive aspects. The Arts Council continues to promote different programs, but more adult programs are needed. We used to have a men’s basketball and softball league. Other items that can make South Amboy more attractive would be community gardens and possibly a farmer’s market. The Façade Grant Program will continue to help businesses improve their exterior appearances and sidewalks. Code violations need to be addressed. Partnerships with grocery chains should be established. We should think about using local farmers with vendors on Main Street and Broadway. We should reduce some of the regulatory value (restraints). We should improve on the Transit Village. These are just some of the items that Rutgers recommended.”

He mentioned the upcoming business breakfasts.

Councilman Brian McLaughlin agreed with Reilly’s comments. He congratulated the Fire Department coming in First Place at the Firemen’s Convention in Wildwood. He also recognized the First Aid Squad who placed First Place in their category. “Both Departments still need more volunteers.”

Councilwoman Zusette Dato congratulated the Arts Council for a job well done. “I went to the Duprees Concert that was held at the High School, and it was wonderful. A lot of out-of-towners attended. On Saturday, October 28, 2017, there will be a Frankie Valli tribute concert.”

Council President Mickey Gross congratulated the South Amboy Fire Department for their championship win in Wildwood. “They are always first in the town and in my heart. I also want to congratulate the ladies running the Arts Council. They will be having a Celtic Fest coming up soon.

City Engineer Mark Rasimowicz gave an update on the improvements on lower Main Street. “RFQ’s (Request for Quotation) were submitted for the reconstruction of Main Street. There must be an inspection, bids to be open, and plans designed. The County went out to bid for this work. Hopefully it will start sometime this year. With the Ferry, conceptional designs are being drawn up, especially for the bulkheads. The remediation is almost complete. Monitoring of the wells is being done. There’s also going to be reconstruction on Bordentown Avenue from South Pine to Mason Street. A funding grant from the State for $300,000 will be used for this.”

Mayor Henry then spoke about another grant for Pine Street, “Sidewalks and curbs will be part of the improvement. Our infrastructure is very important and we can’t let it go. There are RFQ’s out for the placement of the Ferry Terminal. It’s a long ongoing process. In the long run, the Ferry will help the people here. I also want to congratulate the Arts Council for their concerts which bring people to town. Visitors can see what we offer such as dining and other attractions. The Fire Department always does South Amboy proud. The Department tells me they just try and I tell them you don’t try – you just do it.”

During the Public Portion, Church Street Resident Mark Messenger came up to speak. He congratulated the Council on some upcoming projects that look exciting. “… But back in March, I complained about a dilapidated property at 221 First Street. The condition of this building has not improved. The owner put it up for sale and just covered the roof with a tarp, which is falling down.”

Council President Mickey Gross responded, “We’ll inform Code Enforcement to look at this property.”

Barbara Pasternack
*Photos by Carolyn Maxwell

Resident Barbara Pasternak came up next to speak and questioned, “How many units are being built for the Woodmont Property?”

Mayor Henry responded, “126 units consisting of one and two bedroom apartments with parking underneath the building.”

Pasternak was concerned because she felt the buildings were too close together and presented a fire hazard. She then asked about the concrete structures across from those units.

City Engineer Mark Rasimowicz responded, “It’s another building. It’s part of Woodmont. All of this went through the Planning Board.”

Pasternak went on to mention, “With all these buildings, there will be a lot of traffic on these small streets.”

Councilwoman Dato responded, “There were actually two ways to leave that area which involves John O’Leary Boulevard and Bordentown Avenue. All these structures must go through the Planning Board. All of the meetings are open to the public and publicized beforehand in the newspapers.”

Mayor Henry added, “The Redevelopment Agency also made a presentation about the Woodmont Development.”

Dato then mentioned how good of a neighbor Woodmont has been to the City of South Amboy, “The land that the YMCA was built on was donated by Woodmont.”

Ken Feeley

Resident Ken Feeley came up to speak. He agreed with Councilman Reilly that a farmer’s market will be good for the town. He then mentioned Deekers Farm. “We need another food chain market instead of all of these Krauzers.”

Mayor Henry said, “The property (where the former Foodtown/Key Foods/C-Town was located) is an odd shaped lot.”

Feeley then continued, “People are getting tired of all of these houses.” He then turned around and addressed Mr. Messenger and said, “You need to speak directly to your Council who represents your ward regarding the house in ill shape. This Councilman will help you out.”

Councilwoman Dato addressed Feeley in regards to pursuing having another supermarket in the City. “The three supermarkets that were here weren’t financially successful. No one was supporting them.”

Feeley responded, “It’s a failure brought on by the owners of these stores.”

Dato went on to explain, “The Mayor had reached out to chains and they always look at the demographics of an area.”

Council President Mickey Gross remarked, “The supermarket chains said there’s not enough traffic in the City to succeed.”

Feeley reiterated, “Parking is still a problem. You can build and bring in businesses that bring in traffic. We have beat this subject to the ground.”

Dato wanted to respond to a statement that Feeley made earlier. “It’s unfair to take a swipe at a former Councilman who is not here to defend himself. That former Councilman has asked many questions while he was here.”

Feeley responded, “You don’t know what he’s done to me. I will give you that. Maybe it was inappropriate to bring that up.”

Council President Mickey Gross added his thoughts on the matter and stated, “That former Councilman busted his butt during Hurricane Sandy and I will stand up for him!”

Feeley responded, “I apologize for the remarks I made.”

Council Vice President Christine Noble was not present at the Meeting. The next Business Meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 6 p.m.

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WED. Sept. 27
• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

THURS. Sept. 28
• Historic Preservation Commission,
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

MON. Oct. 10
• City Council, Caucus,
4:30 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

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South Amboy Calendar

WED. Oct. 4
• City Council, Business,
6 p.m.
City Hall, N. Broadway

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