Turner outlines major plans for 2013 (part two)
Seniors, school technology, and VFW on the agenda
by Dean DeChiaro
Reporter staff writer
Jan 20, 2013 | 2569 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEFORE AND AFTER – Before: 309 Park Ave. three years ago, when renovations on the one-time Weehawken Town Hall and current VFW post began. After: last week, with renovations almost complete. The building should reopen this spring as the town’s VFW post and as headquarters for the town’s historical society.
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In last weekend’s edition of the Weehawken Reporter, Mayor Richard Turner outlined some of what the township can expect to see in 2013. With township residents returning to their homes after Hurricane Sandy, and parents awaiting the finalization of new school security guidelines, Turner talked about more of his plans for the new year.

New senior housing on 48th street

“When people get old, they don’t always want to move far,” said Turner. “For some of our residents who have been living here their whole lives, the other side of town can seem very far.”

So goes the logic for building a new, 28-unit affordable senior housing facility on 48th Street and Park Avenue to complement the township’s existing senior home on Potter Place across town. Officials broke ground for the new facility last March and it is expected to be completed by late spring.

The new complex will boast 28 single-bedroom units for seniors who qualify for low-income housing with an annual income of $25,000 or less. There will be two units of commercial space on the ground floor, along with parking and easy access in and out of the building, Turner said. Transportation to and from Weehawken’s other senior facilities will be provided by the town.

The building will be built on the former site of the infamous Park Avenue Hotel, where an 18-year-old Bergen County girl was strangled in 2006. After other crimes were reported at the hotel, Turner and the Township Council took steps to have it condemned in 2010.

Turner has long made the health and comfort of Weehawken’s elders a priority, continuing to offer transportation, social activities, and a “Keep in Touch” program that allows homebound and ill residents to maintain contact with the community. Furthermore, the township will host a Super Bowl luncheon in two weeks, especially for its seniors.

VFW restoration to be completed

One of Weehawken’s oldest buildings, 309 Park Ave., has been in the process of getting a makeover for years now, but the project is set to be completed by early spring. The building, which has been home to the town’s Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter for the past 83 years, was built in 1890, originally as the township’s municipal building.

Under the new renovations, it will hold a space for the VFW on the first floor, a meeting hall on the second, and the new home of Weehawken’s historical society on the third. The second floor, Turner said, will be used as a mutual meeting space for both organizations.

The town’s renovations thus far have included new brickwork, windows, dormers, plumbing, and electrical wiring. Some interior work has yet to be completed, but the timetable for opening, which has changed over the past few years, seems to have been finalized.

Education foundation

As far as the schools go, Turner said a foundation will be formed to solicit private donations to the Board of Education to keep up with rapidly advancing technology.

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“It’s hard for our schools to keep up when technology advances so quickly, so we’re hoping this will help.” – Mayor Richard Turner

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“The shelf life on computers used to be five years; then it was three years, and now it’s two years,” said Turner. “With a tight budget it’s hard to keep up.”

Turner said that the foundation’s primary objective would be to attain new technology on behalf of the Board of Education through donations from alumni, local businesses, and corporations that call Weehawken home.

“It’s hard for our schools to keep up when technology advances so quickly, so we’re hoping this will help,” said Turner.

Formula One coming...or not?

Weehawken and West New York are still expected to host the long-planned Formula One Grand Prix auto race in 2014, postponed from 2013. That said, Turner isn’t holding his breath.

“Our basic feeling is that if it happens, it happens. We’re on board,” he said. “But if they decide not to do it, we’ll continue on with the progress of the town.”

Dean DeChiaro may be reached at deand@hudsonreporter.com

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