Arts district residents unite Tenants of 111 First St. look to buy building
by :Dave Hoffman Current Editor
Aug 28, 2004 | 581 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Artists living at 111 First St. finally had some down time last week in their battle to save their studios and Jersey City's arts district.

"So far, it's all's quiet on the Western Front," said Bill Rodwell, a sculptor and photographer who is also president of the 111 First St. Tenants Association.

The quiet allowed supporters to attend an awareness raising concert last weekend. Although the crowd was smaller than Rodwell would have liked, local and national politicians showed their support.

"The crowd was on the bit disappointing side," Rodwell said. "We had somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 people, and we wanted twice as many. The town did allow us to use the front of City Hall. The mayor gave a speech, and Congressman Menendez stopped by."

Rodwell said the tenants of 111 First St. are in the process of forming a 501(c)3 organization - a non-profit group - to try to purchase the building from current owner Lloyd Goldman in order to preserve both 110 and 111 First St. as historic landmarks, and to incorporate the buildings as part of an arts district in downtown Jersey City.

"The 111 [First St.] artists would like to see every building in the district landmarked," said Rodwell. "We'd like to save them all."

By a vote of 8-0-1, the council decided to pursue the idea of designating 111 First St. a Jersey City historical landmark, thereby protecting it from demolition.

However, the building at 110 First St. lies in jeopardy. A second reading regarding what to do with the building will be held on Sept. 8. Two proposals will be introduced - one preserving both 110 and 111 First St., and one preserving only 111 First St. The two proposals are an effort to reach a compromise between Lloyd Goldman and the artists in residence. After hearing from the public on Sept. 8, the council will vote on which plan to adopt. Rodwell said that the tenants envision a building that can be used to promote arts in the community at large. "Perhaps we can add an annex to the Jersey City Museum," said Rodwell, "or open a gallery in the building complex for organizations such as Pro Arts to have exhibits. We'd also like to keep a designated space to be open to the community for art workshops for children and adults."

Staff writer Mary Beth Cole contributed to this story.The quiet allowed supporters to attend an awareness raising concert last weekend. Although the crowd was smaller than Rodwell would have liked, local and national politicians showed their support.

"The crowd was on the bit disappointing side," Rodwell said. "We had somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 people, and we wanted twice as many. The town did allow us to use the front of City Hall. The mayor gave a speech, and Congressman Menendez stopped by."

Rodwell said the tenants of 111 First St. are in the process of forming a 501(c)3 organization - a non-profit group - to try to purchase the building from current owner Lloyd Goldman in order to preserve both 110 and 111 First St. as historic landmarks, and to incorporate the buildings as part of an arts district in downtown Jersey City.

"The 111 [First St.] artists would like to see every building in the district landmarked," said Rodwell. "We'd like to save them all."

By a vote of 8-0-1, the council decided to pursue the idea of designating 111 First St. a Jersey City historical landmark, thereby protecting it from demolition.

However, the building at 110 First St. lies in jeopardy. A second reading regarding what to do with the building will be held on Sept. 8. Two proposals will be introduced - one preserving both 110 and 111 First St., and one preserving only 111 First St. The two proposals are an effort to reach a compromise between Lloyd Goldman and the artists in residence. After hearing from the public on Sept. 8, the council will vote on which plan to adopt. Rodwell said that the tenants envision a building that can be used to promote arts in the community at large. "Perhaps we can add an annex to the Jersey City Museum," said Rodwell, "or open a gallery in the building complex for organizations such as Pro Arts to have exhibits. We'd also like to keep a designated space to be open to the community for art workshops for children and adults."

Staff writer Mary Beth Cole contributed to this story.
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