I am writing this letter on behalf of my family to offer thanks to Mayor Mike Gonnelli. He recently assisted us with a quality of life and safety issue. My family has lived in Secaucus for nearly a half a century. During this time we have been neighbors with the New Jersey Turnpike. For many years we have dealt with some pretty serious issues involving NJ Turnpike property, including rodents, loud noises, transient people who at times were living on their property, and general poor maintenance of their property.
This past summer we had quite a bit of rain. During this time, as well as many years before, the Turnpike Authority would not clean out the storm drains, which run up against our property line. This lack of cleaning of the storm drains allowed water pooling to form and then mosquito breeding. Rather than wait for the Turnpike Authority to come clean it, knowing this would not happen, my father and I went ahead and cleared the drains ourselves to allow the standing water to move on. I emailed the Turnpike Authority regarding this issue and cc’d Mayor Gonnelli. The Turnpike Authority never responded to my email, however, within one hour, I received an email from Mayor Gonnelli stating he would get right on it.
Fast forward a month, the grass was cut and the old dilapidated fence was being torn down by the Turnpike Authority to be replaced by a new fence. This was great news until we witnessed the ridiculousness of what they were attempting to do. They were installing a 7 foot high fence, but were installing it 4 feet away from our property line leaving a gap between our property and their new fence. Initially I wondered, “Who is going to take care of this gap between our property and the fence.” Secondly, there is a four foot drop (ditch) behind our properties. The 7 foot fence they were installing was being installed in the ditch, causing the fence to actually be only 3 feet tall, 2 in some areas. This presents quite a dangerous problem. A child could easily trip and fall and possibly fall over this fence into the ditch, potentially causing serious injury, especially where the fence is only 2 feet tall. I immediately called the fence company doing the work and was given a contact number at the Turnpike Authority.
Once again this was a futile effort. Not getting any assistance I contacted the mayor's office. Mayor Gonnelli not only called back, but he personally came down to inspect the area. Clearly what the Turnpike Authority was doing was not properly thought out. Mayor Gonnelli stepped in and using his years of experience with the DPW, devised a suitable alternative. We now have a 7 foot fence, privacy slots, and a promise from the Turnpike Authority that their property will be maintained in the future. Mayor Gonnelli – Thank you for all of your help.
Anthony and Antonio DeGennaro