Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., who represents the 9th Congressional District of New Jersey which encompasses Secaucus, has announced $950,000 in federal funds to support the construction of the new senior center in the town.
On July 20, Pascrell hailed the U.S. House of Representatives passage of government appropriations for Fiscal Year 2023 that includes $16,815,000 for local projects he had championed. In sum, the package contains funding for all 11 community projects Pascrell had pursued for North Jersey in these pieces of legislation, including the Secaucus project.
Since Democrats’ resuscitation of community project funding, Pascrell has been aggressive in bringing funding back to North Jersey. In March 2022, Pascrell succeeded in winning over $11 million for 10 projects in the 9th District signed into law.
“The passage of this funding continues one of the most forward-looking actions Congress has taken in many years,” said Rep. Pascrell. “These federal funds we won today in the House are an investment directly into our beautiful communities. The very purpose of good government is to better the daily lives of our neighbors. Today we did that. It is not hyperbole to say that countless lives will be bettered by these projects in the way of better roads, cleaner water, safer housing, and vibrant space for our kids. The Senate should finish the job we just started and sending this funding to President Biden’s desk.”
Federal monies for new senior center
The move to construct a new senior center came after the town realized that oil tanks underneath the old center had been leaking for a number of years. Environmental remediation work needed to be done at the three buildings that composed the old center, but because some of the contamination leached under the foundation, it was cheaper to start from scratch then to remediate the existing center. The old center was demolished before contaminated soil that was formerly beneath the building was removed.
Now plans are in the works for the new center. While the new building will primarily serve as a senior center during the day time, for the rest of the day and evening the facility will serve as a community center for residents to hold events and meetings. When the new senior center opens, it will be larger and more accessible to the handicapped. Amid the ongoing construction, the community center on Front Street is functioning as a makeshift senior center.
In response to the announcement, Town Administrator Gary Jeffas told the Hudson Reporter that Pascrell’s office had been working on appropriations for the project which totals approximately $7.8 million.
“We put everything through appropriations with requests for money for the senior center, and Pascrell was working on that for us,” Jeffas said.
Project still in planning phases
The funds will apply to any needs by the town related to the construction of the senior center. In addition to these funds, town bonds, reserves, grants, and other money will help cover the cost of the project.
“The project is far in excess of that for the overall cost, so we were looking for any sources,” Jeffas said. “This is part of the overall funding for the construction of the new senior center.”
Jeffas said the senior center was still in the planning phases, with the town having hired an architect for the project in late May. Demolition of the old senior center and environmental remediation of the site is complete. The town is awaiting the completion of the design of the building, estimating the project will go out to bid around next Spring.
While the new senior center at 101 Centre Avenue is in the works, the community center at 145 Front Street serves as an interim senior center. In addition to the funds for the senior center, Pascrell also secured $1.75 million for Hudson County roads in the appropriations.
However, the appropriations, although likely, are not locked in yet. They still must pass the U.S. Senate, and then okayed by President Joe Biden. Regardless, the town is still thrilled at the progress.
“We’re over the first hurdle now,” Jeffas said of the funds.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.