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West New York set to receive grants for electric vehicles and park improvements

The town will also get money for power lift stretcher systems

Miller Park as seen from above prior to the now-under construction improvements. Photo courtesy of the town.

West New York is looking to appropriate millions in grants funding for various capital projects around town, from electric vehicles to park improvements, following receipt of some $2.5 million in grants from the county, state, and federal governments. 

Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez and the West New York Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance that would appropriate the grant funding at its November 22 meeting. The money includes $187,084 for power lift stretcher systems, $468,387 for Miller Park improvements, and $1,920,198 for electric shuttle buses and garbage trucks.

The four power lift stretcher systems, including the training and installation, would be financed by a $170,076 Fiscal Year 2021 Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The ordinance states that the remaining $17,007 would come from the Town’s Capital Improvement Fund.

Miller Park improvements

The $468,387 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from Hudson County would be appropriated for improvements to Miller Park and including all work and materials necessary, according to the ordinance. Miller Park is on Jackson Street, between 57th Street and 59th Street in town. The park is just across the street from the landmark Miller Stadium.

These are the latest funds going toward the massive overhaul to the park, which broke ground in September. This money is in addition to other federal, state, and local sources including but not limited to: the town’s federal COVID-19 relief funds, federal CDBG funds, and the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund, as well as an ordinance adopted by the Board of Commissioners bonding millions for the park improvements.

The new park will have significant improvements to the playground, basketball court, and open passive areas with benches and walking paths for use by seniors, according to the town. The new playground will also provide the community with areas specifically tailored for children with special needs, and will be Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant.

Some of the other features of the park will include a community garden, a new mini soccer field, a dog park, new basketball courts, security cameras, safe lighting, and landscaping, among other improvements. The planned upgrades were presented to the board at the beginning of the year in January, during the Capital Plan Midterm Review for capital projects by Special Projects Manager Jonathan Castañeda.

The park is closed until the renovations are completed. While the project was initially estimated to be completed in September, it started in September instead and it is not clear when exactly construction will finish in mid-2023 and the park will reopen.

Rep. Albio Sires, who is retiring from Congress and running for mayor of the town in 2023  (Rodriguez will run for state Assembly) touted the park project as teamwork between himself, the board and the town, and all involved entities. He said work will continue on other town parks to bring them up to snuff.

Electric shuttle buses and garbage trucks

Lastly, the $1,920,198 grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection from the national Volkswagen settlement fund would be appropriated for the acquisition of two electric shuttle buses and two electric garbage trucks including related charging equipment and all work and materials necessary.

The ordinance will be up for a public hearing and vote at the next meeting on December 14 at 6:30 p.m. held remotely and/or in person. Instructions regarding attendance and participation in the meeting are posted on the town’s website at westnewyorknj.org.

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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