Super Bowl on their minds
Secaucus Town Council prepares for public safety challenges
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
Nov 17, 2013 | 3602 views | 0 0 comments | 128 128 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TAKING THINGS INTO THEIR OWN HANDS – The Town Council is ready to pass ordinances that would help deal with the impact of the Super Bowl.
TAKING THINGS INTO THEIR OWN HANDS – The Town Council is ready to pass ordinances that would help deal with the impact of the Super Bowl.
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To help ensure safety and keep down the cost of providing public services to events associated with the upcoming Super Bowl in February at MetLife Stadium, the Secaucus Town Council introduced two ordinances as well as took other measures at its Nov. 12 meeting.

The town hopes to offset some of the costs of providing public safety for such big events, and to allow police, fire and ambulance services to be fully informed in case of an emergency.

One ordinance would require all hotels and motels to obtain a photo license or other valid ID and comply with other requirements to promote safety and security within their premises. The hotel would be required to keep the records for three years after the transactions.

The second ordinance would require facilities to seek a permit for large parties or events that exceed 300 people. The fee would pay for potential public safety responses, said Mayor Michael Gonnelli.

Town public safety officials would also inspect the premises of the event to make certain that the site provides adequate provisions for public safety.

Safety is an issue

Councilman Gary Jeffas said the changes to the hotel ordinance were relatively minor and were largely an industry standard, allowing the municipality to keep track of who stays in a hotel, not just for the time of the Super Bowl, but going forward. The other ordinance would allow the public safety officials to avert possible problems.

“The NFL has made it clear that it will not pay for any expenses in the municipalities surrounding MetLife Stadium that may be incurred during Super Bowl,” Mayor Gonnelli said. “So it is up to the person running the event to pay for public safety people who will need to be there. This Super Bowl is unique. The majority of times, a Super Bowl is held in a major city. This time it is being held in a region that is near a major city but covers two states This is in a region where every fire department within four or five miles is made up of volunteers. So are a majority of the EMS.”
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“The NFL has made it clear that it will not pay for any expenses in the municipalities surrounding MetLife Stadium.” – Mayor Gonnelli
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He said it is tough to ask a volunteer to sit in a firehouse for five or more days to protect local events as well as MetLife and other towns with whom Secaucus has mutual aid agreements.

“We’re trying to find a way to compensate volunteers, especially when there are going to be events,” Gonnelli said.

The local convention center has been hired out for the entire week. The NFL has events scheduled in local hotels. And town officials know there will be other events throughout the hotels and area.

Parking on Kiesewetter Lane for residents only

A third ordinance introduced at the meeting would establish a residential parking zone for the entire length of Kiesewetter Lane and would include the municipal parking lot there.

This, Gonnelli said, is to keep out-of-town people from parking there to get on a bus to go to New York City. The parking lot was created as a result of a development project off Farm Road.

A public hearing will be held on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.

Parking increase could bring town big bucks

The council also voted to approve a resolution that would support increasing the parking capacity at the Secaucus Junction Station Park and Ride Facility on the other end of the town.

“This will increase capacity by 300 cars,” Gonnelli said. “Similar to those in Manhattan, the first vehicle that comes in is put on a lift, and the second below.”

This is also related to the Super Bowl in an effort to increase the capacity prior to the event in early 2014.

“This makes a lot of sense,” Gonnelli said.

If approved by the state, the increase would result in a possible increase in annual revenues to the town by $200,000, which would bring up the total revenue to more than $1 million.

“Since most of the cars come off the Turnpike and go back onto the Turnpike, this will have no impact on Secaucus,” Gonnelli said.

Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com.

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