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Acting DEP Commissioner tours Bayonne

From left to right: Acting NJDEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, Mayor James Davis, NJDEP Director of Local Government Assistance Kerry Kirk Pflugh, and NJDEP Manager of the Community Collaborative Initiative Alan Miller.
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From left to right: Acting NJDEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, Mayor James Davis, NJDEP Director of Local Government Assistance Kerry Kirk Pflugh, and NJDEP Manager of the Community Collaborative Initiative Alan Miller.

New Jersey’s Acting Commissioner of Environmental Protection, Shawn LaTourette, toured Bayonne on April 19. Mayor Davis welcomed LaTourette and staff colleagues from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).

During a meeting at the Mayor’s Office, city officials and the NJDEP representatives discussed issues including extending the waterfront walkway around Bayonne; upgrading Bayonne’s sewer system; taking steps against flooding; redeveloping former industrial properties; and renovating additional parks. They also discussed Bayonne’s close relationship with the NJDEP under the department’s Community Collaborative Initiative Program.

“As a result of the Community Collaborative Initiative Program, Alan Miller, a DEP official, has worked at Bayonne City Hall three days a week since 2018,” Davis said. “Alan has helped us to expedite solutions to a variety of concerns. Instead of sending problems to an office in Trenton, we have had Alan right here to respond immediately to our questions and proposals. We want to thank the NJDEP for this outstanding program, and hope that it will continue into the future.”

At the meeting, LaTourette viewed the plans for the reconstruction of Fitzpatrick Park at the corner of 26th Street and Avenue C. Afterward, the officials walked to Fitzpatrick Park to look at sewer reconstruction.

Touring the developing peninsula

Following the stop at Fitzpatrick Park, the group visited the site of the former Texaco refinery near Newark Bay and the Kill Van Kull. The soil at the site has been undergoing environmental remediation so that the property can be redeveloped.

Then the group passed Collins Park along First Street, where chromate has been removed from the soil. The park is now undergoing renovations including the addition of new basketball courts, playgrounds, handicapped entrances, and the reconstruction of the parking lot.

The officials drove by Brady’s Dock, then passed industrial and residential areas in the southeastern corner of Bayonne. They discussed upcoming redevelopment of the former Exxon property at Constable Hook.

After driving up Route 440, the group viewed current residential and industrial construction at the former Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY). Here, the group discussed the expected construction of two pedestrian bridges: one across Route 440 at 34th Street, and another between the South Cove Commons shopping center and MOTBY.

The tour concluded with a visit to the September 11 memorial at the eastern end of MOTBY.

“I would like to thank Acting Commissioner LaTourette and his team for spending time in Bayonne to learn about local projects, needs, and concerns,” Davis said. “We look forward to continuing our close relationship with the NJDEP. Together, we can find ways to address our environmental concerns while making economic progress in Bayonne.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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