Mayor Nicholas Sacco, township commissioners, and other local officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, July 19, marking the grand opening of North Bergen’s new Municipal Court Building at 4225 Bergen Turnpike. The structure now houses the court and the Parking Authority, which began operations there on July 23.
The building offers the agencies far more space, along with up-to-date features that the old location lacked.
The building cost approximately $2.2 million to acquire and $4 million to renovate, paid for in part with a half million dollars in grants. It has 12,000 square feet of space, with the Parking Authority leasing approximately 40 percent of the building from the township. The new Municipal Court will have nearly triple the space of the old court facility.
From then to now
The building was purchased by the township in May 2010. The property was formerly a TD Bank branch which had been closed. It is just down the hill from Town Hall, with easy access to Tonnelle Avenue.
Both the Municipal Court and the Parking Authority had overgrown their previous offices. The court was sharing a building with the Police Department and the Parking Authority had leased space on Bergenline Avenue. The new building will feature full handicapped accessibility, modernized security systems, a closed circuit camera system, more teller windows for servicing residents and dedicated visitor parking.
“This may be an opportunity we can’t pass up.” – Township Administrator Chris Pianese
At the ribbon cutting ceremony, Township Administrator Christopher Pianese, who was a TD Bank customer, said he got the idea to purchase the former bank branch.
His third visit to the building, which had been closed for some time, caused him to phone Mayor Sacco to say, “This may be an opportunity we can’t pass up.” From there, negotiations to purchase the property began. Pianese said that the town saved $20,000 by not hiring contractors and doing the work with township employees.
Sacco said some of the previous problems included residents lining up outside the shared municipal court and police department building, and a parking shortage at the court and, ironically, the Parking Authority at its previous location, 7224 Bergenline Ave. Sacco admitted that he didn’t want to see the building until it was done.
Authority and court hours of service
The hours of operation for the Parking Authority are Mondays from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. with Tuesdays through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“The Parking Authority was really tight, our employees were working on top of each other and this is such a state of the art building,” said authority chairman Steven Monetti. “The commissioners should be commended, and the mayor, for the foresight to put this building up, both with the municipal court and the parking authority. Thank you very much on behalf of the taxpayers of North Bergen, myself as the chairman of the Parking Authority and the employees of the Parking Authority.”
The Municipal Court hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays are also from 5 to 8 p.m.
“This is a singular proud moment for the township of North Bergen,” said Judge Nino Falcone. “The discussion of getting a new facility was more than 15 years ago. The one deficiency was we don’t have enough space. This extraordinary building that the mayor, Mr. Pianese and the staff have put together is a model not only for Hudson County but for the entire state. I don’t think you’ll find a better facility, a better structure to meet the needs of our citizens and also the needs of our traditional staff.”
The new building has 10 visitor parking spaces with handicapped spaces also available.
“I think the town’s taking a big step in providing better access for the public as well as a better situation for the employees,” said Pianese. “It wasn’t easy...you guys deserve it, enjoy the space and welcome to your new building.”
Vanessa Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org