A new park is set to open in North Bergen in the next few years, after commissioners passed a resolution amending the $92 million 2017 budget to fund the project at their Oct. 25 meeting. The resolution will add a total of $500,000 from the 2016 and 2017 Hudson County Open Space, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Trust Fund for the project.
The site where the park will be built is on Paterson Plank Road behind the town’s Food Bazaar. It once housed a car wash, but it has been demolished.
“Based on getting this funding, we will now authorize the actual specifications and design of the park, which should occur within the next three to six months, and then we hope to start building sometime in 2018,” said Township Administrator Chris Pianese, after the meeting.
Pianese said the town has delayed working on the park because a private developer is building housing units next door. The town had previously struck a community off-site improvement agreement with the developer, over a year ago, to demolish the car wash and prepare the site to become a park.
“The fact that there’s going to be a park next to his building doesn’t hurt his building,” Pianese said, when asked what incentives were in it for the developer.
“We want [the park work] to be more toward the end of construction,” Pianese said. “We have the goal of it being done sometime in early 2019.”
The town has about 10 parks currently, according to Pianese.
Moment of silence for fallen officer
The meeting began with a moment of silence for North Bergen Sgt. Alex Vazquez. The 32-year-old cop died Oct. 23, days after being found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Durham Avenue. It has been determined a suicide.
“You can’t make any sense out of a life lost so young,” said Mayor Nicholas Sacco. “
“Alex was a wonderful, young man,” said Police Chief Robert Dowd. “It’s a tough time for the department.”
New parking spaces
Another resolution passed at the meeting awarded a contract to Two Brothers Contracting, Inc, to demolish an existing home at 1132 Hillside Pl. The town plans to create a new parking lot in that site, which is situated behind Town Hall and next to North Bergen Police Department headquarters.
Walking across the GWB
Another resolution that was passed called upon the Port Authority to widen sidewalks on the George Washington Bridge. This comes after Neile Weissman, a representative for an advocacy group asking the Port Authority to widen such paths on the bridge, called on the commissioners to support such an initiative at a previous meeting.
According to the resolution, the bridge’s sidewalks are 10 feet wide, except sections where its suspender ropes pass through, where they decrease to seven feet. It cites Federal Highway Administration guidelines saying that shared-use paths should be at least 10 feet wide if they are heavily used.
When asked how this would benefit North Bergen, given the bridge is partly located in Fort Lee, town spokesman Phil Swibinski responded, “It benefits the whole region.”
The resolution also says that 1,700 cyclists and 900 pedestrians cross the bridge’s sidewalk paths between New Jersey and New York daily.
The Port Authority is planning an extensive renovation for the bridge between 2017 and 2025 that will include replacing its upper level sidewalks. The work will not include widening sidewalks, currently.
As per New Jersey law, any developers and cities building along the Hudson River between Bayonne and the bridge have to contribute to a public waterfront walkway there. Most sections are complete already.
American Stroke Association proclamation
The commissioners issued a proclamation supporting World Stroke Day Oct. 29. Representatives from the American Stroke Association appeared at the meeting. According to the association, almost 800,000 people in the U.S. suffer from strokes annually. Last year, Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli suffered a stroke that kept him out of work for three months, although he was able to return.
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