Bayonne residents have had enough of decrepit fencing surrounding a construction site. The conversation was prompted by resident Jack Kennedy regarding an abandoned redevelopment project at 175 West 7th Street.
“The fencing is in the street,” Kennedy said. “We have no access to the public sidewalks … What can we do about this project up here? It’s an eyesore. I just spent well over $60,000 to upgrade the outside of my house. I’m going to have pools of water up there, weeds, some kind of mosquitoes in my back and front yards.”
Kennedy requested that the city council do something.
“It’s a mess,” Kennedy said. “I understand it’s in pre-foreclosure. I reached out to one of the banks that are listed. They don’t have their hands on it yet. Their hands are tied, they can’t do anything. We need to get a hold of this company and find out what the heck we can do. We’ve got to get the fencing off the street. We’re taking up six parking spaces and in between my driveway are small spots. We’ve got neighbors who can’t find parking, and they’ll park overhanging our driveways. My wife and I have a problem with that, so I’m just trying to get 175 West 7th Street cleaned up.”
Kennedy said he has been working with First Ward City Councilman Neil Carroll, but he alone can’t fix it.
“I know Mr. Carroll has been trying to get answers to emails for the past six months,” Kennedy said. “I think we need some more muscle on this, we’ve got to get this cleaned up. It’s a mess up there.”
Working on it
City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski said that the city has been trying to resolve the issue with the property owners.
“We have been after them,” Ashe-Nadrowski said. “And we have contacted them. .. I agree with you 100 percent, and I’ve been asking for three years for them to at least take the fencing down and move it back. We will make sure that we send someone there. We’ll see, maybe the city can go take the fencing down.”
Kennedy added that it was a “pretty dangerous corner to begin with,” as there are “young people walking, trying to get around it, and they have to walk on the street, even on the boulevard where the entrance to the back highway is.”
Ashe-Nadrowski agreed: “It’s a dangerous place. I go in on that road multiple days and with the popularity of the bridge walkway, it is really a high traffic area. And I understand and agree with you. But as you know, part of the problem is ownership.”
According to Ashe-Nadrowski, the city will see what it can do.
“I’m not sure what that would be from a legal perspective or what our rights are but we certainly will follow up,” Ashe-Nadrowski said.
Carroll said he appreciates Kennedy’s concerns and that he is “by far not in the minority on this.”
“I’ve gotten a lot of calls from a lot of residents, and like you said, I’ve been trying to address it,” Carroll said. “But absolutely every one of my council colleagues has been aware of this issue, and they have been trying. There’s strength in numbers, and I believe we will have a resolution to this because it’s a very serious issue, especially with the summer coming and the kids being out.”
Third Ward City Councilman Gary La Pelusa agreed that the fencing was a hazard.
“It’s a safety issue just for the location itself of having to walk in the street on such a busy intersection there by the bridge by the highway,” La Pelusa said.
La Pelusa added that the fences cause issues with garbage and called for inspections of some of the construction sites with fences on busy thoroughfares.
“Another issue with a lot of these fences are the garbage that’s been piling up,” La Pelusa said. “So I’m going to make a push that our people go out and inspect these areas that have fences because they seem to be gathering a lot of garbage. I had some issues with some buildings uptown. And I’ve noticed in the rest of the town that there is an issue with that too. We need to look at the dangerous intersections and maybe move those fences, toss them into the garbage, and increase the quality of life of the town.”
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