JERSEY CITY BRIEFS

Statue of Liberty Museum is finally open. These are artistic renderings.
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Statue of Liberty Museum is finally open. These are artistic renderings.

Newark comic busted in Jersey City

Comic Fatboy SSE was arrested in Jersey City on May 20 and charged with possession of marijuana and warrants related to alleged violation of bail, said city officials.

Fatboy (aka Tyriq Kimbrough) was pulled over by police around 8:51 p.m. for allegedly running a red light, said Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione, spokeswoman for the city.

Kimbrough, of Newark, was issued motor vehicle summonses for failure to observe signal, driving while suspended, and CDS in a motor vehicle.

Two passengers were also charged with possession of marijuana and related charges.

Protesters want city to give money to schools

About 30 protesters – led by members of civic group JC together – protested at the Jersey City Council meeting on May 22 in an attempt to reverse the lay offs of 150 teachers by the school board.

Earlier in May, the school board voted to approve its 2019-2020 budget, managing through an agreement with the city to collect a payroll tax to reduce the total number of jobs lost from 750.

Protesters have been trying to push the school board into raising taxes rather than laying people off, causing Board President Sudhan Thomas to point out that the board needed to protect taxpayers from large increases as well as to make sure the school district had adequate resources.

“We have to strike a balance and I think we did that,” he said, responding to the protesters, both at the council meeting and later during an interview.

The protest came after a massive cut in state aid to the district that some protesters blame city government’s abatement policies for.

Abatements issued until 2017 allowed municipal government to collect more from a potential development than it would under regular taxes, but would not require developers to pay school taxes and most of the county taxes.

Some city council members said this was a good deal because the state aid paid for more than $400 million of the school district’s $600 million budget each year.

The perception that Jersey City was getting richer at the expense of the rest of the state prompted state legislators along with Gov. Phil Murphy to cut back on aid even though local school officials claim under the old formula, Jersey City schools were not getting the amount of aid as legally required.

The protesters are also trying to force city government to transfer money to the school district to help offset the deficiency in state aid. While city officials agreed to give the district $27 million in money collected from the payroll tax, some council members are much more reluctant to transfer municipal funds without having a say as to how those funds are spent.

Thomas said he has no problem with the protesters seeking to get more money out of the city. But Thomas said overburdening local tax payers with additional school taxes would be irresponsible.

A City-Wide, All-Day Celebration of Art & Culture in Jersey City on June 7

Art House Productions’ JC Fridays will hold its seasonal festival featuring art events that take place in restaurants, galleries, stores, and event spaces in almost every neighborhood of Jersey City.

This June is the 2nd annual ACCESS JC Fridays.  It focuses on inclusion and encourages participants to present work from artists with disabilities and/or work that celebrates disability in any of its many forms, including, but not limited to impairments that are cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, and sensory. Organizers also encourage residents to find easy and inexpensive ways to make their physical space accessible to all.

All events are free and open to the public. As one of the preeminent art scenes in the tri-state area, Jersey City is rich in visual and performing artists of all types, musicians, and individuals with unique talent. JC Fridays is one of the best times for them to share their newest projects and works.

Sponsors are Harrison Rand, Mayor Steven M. Fulop, the Jersey City Municipal Council, Department of Cultural Affairs, Historic Downtown SID, and others.

For more information go to https://www.jcfridays.com/

Jersey City to expand public transportation access

Mayor Steven M. Fulop and the City Council will move ahead with a Request For Proposals to create an innovative transit system, based on a unique vendor partnership, with virtual stops and routes based on passenger demand.

The technology-based transit system would be the first of its kind in the state, expanding accessibility to public transit and connecting the north and south regions of the city. Areas of Jersey City will be identified and targeted as primary service areas, with added connectivity to other key shopping and business districts, government facilities, as well as PATH, ferry and light rail stations.

At least 10 percent of the program’s fleet will be fully electric vehicles, with a goal to increase the number of electric cars in future years. Prices will be set near current mass transit ticket prices, below or around $2 per-ride, with discounts offered for certain populations including low-income residents, the disabled, and senior citizens.

Relying on a user interface and underlying technology similar to ride-hailing services, the service will primarily focus on “transit desert” areas determined by the city. The system will pick up passengers from predetermined pickup locations and dynamically route shuttles based on passenger demand.

Bayfront Community Advisory Committee approves city redevelopment plans

Mayor Steven M. Fulop has announced a unanimous vote by the 7-member Bayfront Community Advisory Committee to release a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Bayfront redevelopment project, after reviewing and agreeing to affordable housing and other requirements that best serve the community.

The committee is comprised of the mayor, a representative from JC Together, Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley, Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, a representative from Society Hill, and two other community members.

Under Fulop’s proposal for Bayfront, the language in the RFP is consistent with the language in the resolution the City Council voted on to acquire the property last October with the goal of 35 percent affordable housing and to incorporate green initiatives, making for a sustainable place for hundreds of families to live.

The RFP is posted on the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency’s website as well as the Jersey City website. The committee expects upwards of 500 units built on the four parcels of land. A developer can bid on one or all four parcels of land available.  The online link includes all documentation and maps necessary in a single-link package for one-stop-shop accessibility.

Per the agreement with the City Council, Society Hill, and JC Together, the RFP responses will be reviewed by the community advisory board. This process will ensure the entire community is part of the decision making process.

Exchange Place Corporate Challenge

New Jersey companies might want to make sure that their employees are dusting off their running shoes and getting in shape because there’s a brand new race coming up that’s for corporate teams only. Exchange Place Corporate Challenge will hold their inaugural 5K (3.1 miles) race at Liberty State Park on Thursday, June 13 at 6 p.m. The mission of this new USATF timed race is to encourage companies to use the event as a platform for promoting health and fitness in the workplace, fostering goodwill, and promoting team building among their employees.

The Exchange Place Corporate Challenge is open to all full-time and part-time employees from organizations within the business and public sectors. All participants must register as part of a company team (individuals not associated with a company are not eligible to register), but there is no minimum, nor is there a maximum number of athletes on a team.

Registration must be done in advance; race day registration will not be offered.

To register, or for more information, visit www.exchangeplacecc.com/, call 201-659-3873, or emailinfo@citychallengerace.com.

Sires celebrate access and mobility grants for NJ Transit

The Federal Transit Administration announced in early May that New Jersey Transit has been awarded federal financial assistance through the Access and Mobility Partnership Grants Program.

“These grants, which total $60,600, will help NJ Transit improve transit programs for our seniors, individuals with disabilities, and low-income individuals,” said Rep. Sires. “There are many people in our communities who do not enjoy easy access to transportation but nevertheless need to remain mobile. This grant award will help our state improve its transit service so that no one in need is left behind, and I look forward to seeing what NJ Transit does with this opportunity.”

FTA’s Access and Mobility Partnership Grants are aimed at financing projects that help improve standard and non-emergency medical transportation services and supporting better coordination between healthcare providers and transit agencies on transit options for individuals in need.