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Fixing the leak

Council authorizes emergency roof repair and limits parking near Buchmuller Park

Senior center roof leaks will soon be repaired

Senior citizens playing bingo, cards, or doing yoga at the Senior Center on Centre Avenue may not have to dodge dripping water much longer. The town council authorized $85,000 at its Nov. 27 meeting to do an emergency repair on the roof.

The center provides a place for many quality programs for seniors, including recreation, education, special parties and gatherings, but the building is hardly new.

The leakage so far hasn’t done significant damage.

“We’ve been putting out buckets to catch the rain water,” Jeffas said. “Besides the need for a few new ceiling tiles, the damage has been minimal.
But Mayor Michael Gonnelli said this could change if the town doesn’t move to make the repair.

“We can’t wait until spring,” he said. “As soon as we can, we’re going to start.”

The late Mayor Paul Amico considered establishing the center one of his significant accomplishments. Seniors did not have a place of their own prior to the opening of the facility in the 1980s.

Amico purchased the building as part of a campaign to close a number of nightclubs that had opened in Secaucus in the 1960s and 1970s. This building was considered one of the most notorious clubs, with a number of significant social problems.

The town converted it to use for seniors, and the building has required a number of upgrades over the last several decades. The leaky roof is the most recent, and has been plaguing the seniors since the summer.

Town Administrator Gary Jeffas said the town struggled to get the repair done prior to the beginning of the fall rainy season.

“We wanted to avoid having to bid it out, but no matter how we figured it, the project kept going over the bid threshold,” he said.

Under state law, municipalities that do not have a qualified purchasing agent must go out to bid for any project that costs more than $17,400. For towns with a purchasing agent, the bid threshold is $40,000.

Unfortunately, the nature of the repairs needed far exceeded this. Secaucus officials sought bids.

“We’ve been working on this since the summer,” Jeffas said. “But every quote we got came in too high. So, we worked on the bid package and finally got a figure we can work with for rebuilding the top and bottom roofs.”

So seniors won’t need to worry about covering their bingo boards with plastic or to protect art pieces they are working on for much longer.

Parking hours narrowed for Wilson Avenue lot

For those in the know, long-term parking for commuters to New York could be found at the recently-opened lot at Wilson and First avenues.

The lot, however, is meant to accommodate residents who wish to use nearby Buchmuller Park, which includes a band shell for live music performances in season, Little League baseball, basketball courts, and even bocce. The lot was never intended as a park and ride for city-bound commuters.

The lot, opened earlier this year, replaced a long-time eye-sore, a vacant lot that had become a haven for feral cats and various anti-social human activities.

Before Nov. 27 when the council adopted an ordinance the lot didn’t have meters or regulations prohibiting long-term parking.

Jeffas said the town is not against commuters parking in Secaucus. Indeed, there is a lot behind the Paterson Plank Road post office that has 8 hour meters. There are also long term meters along some of the streets.

“But this lot is meant for those who use the park,” Jeffas said.

Mayor Gonnelli said the lot is to provide local people using the park with convenient parking, particularly during baseball season, when teams play in the field and parents and other fans will want to find affordable parking.

“We’re going to have a meter system in there shortly,” Jeffas said.

The ordinance sets up time restrictions of two hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Once the meter system is installed, the town council will set cost for parking there.

“The park is in use all year round,” Jeffas said. “During the winter, people go to the ice rink. In summer, there is nonstop use.”

To comment on this story on-line, go to our website, www.hudsonreporter.com. Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com


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