Bulls Ferry residents who received plans for a proposed waterfront park in Guttenberg came to the June 22 council meeting to voice their concerns about what they felt was poor planning.
Tom Hannigan, who said he had been instrumental in fighting for some of the K. Hovnanian land to be used for a park, was upset that instead of “green space,” there would be a restroom facility and playground area.
“Every single discussion we had in regards to the park was always about green space and a clear view of the river,” said Hannigan.
He said that residents of Bulls Ferry paid slightly more taxes than the rest of Guttenberg and were all worried that the bathroom facility, which he said takes up “20 to 25 percent” of the land, would be poorly patrolled and be a haven for drug addicts and other unsavory practices.
“The residents of Bulls Ferry feel that this piece of property that is narrow and green is being allocated just like the three tennis courts that are sitting on our property were allocated for the Galaxy,” said Hannigan. “This [will become] a picnic area for the Galaxy.”
Hannigan asked the board to consider holding off on building a bathroom facility until the portion of land to the north of the property was analyzed.
The land is owned by K. Hovnanian, which is currently not continuing their original plan of developing some of the area. Hannigan asked to council to see if the property could be purchased by Hudson County so that the park could extend north.
Resident Keith Bracci asked if the plans sent to Bulls Ferry residents were “legally needed.” Town Attorney Charles Daglian explained that they were a part of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protections’ proposal process and that if the residents did want to object, they should contact the DEP.
After the meeting, Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff said that he understood the concern of the park area and the larger worry of the bathrooms, and hoped in the future that the park could be extended north, but for now he wants to move on with the plans.
“The people of Guttenberg are waiting for this park.” – Gerald Drasheff
He said that there will be surveillance cameras in the park that will be visible in police headquarters and that Guttenberg’s Department of Public Works would most likely be responsible for locking up the bathrooms at night.
He said that for older residents with grandchildren, or anyone willing to take their children to the park down the steep incline of Ferry Road, toilets are needed to accommodate residents taking that hike.
Bulls Ferry residents agreed with the necessity of the parking lot.
“The people of Guttenberg are waiting for this park,” said Drasheff, who said that it would not be extended north this year, but it was a possibility in the future.
Other Guttenberg news
The council approved a $17,000 contract with Paino Roofing Company, Inc. of Hackensack because the Town Hall roof is in need of replacement.
Claudia Bowen was appointed as a clerical technical assistant to the Building Department and Annie Setliff to the position of Supervisor to the Tax and Finance Department.
A temporary budget was also approved for the 2010 fiscal year at $3.6 million.
Guttenberg Police Officer Joseph Keselica was awarded police officer of the month for his actions on May 18.
“[He was] flagged down by residents about a fight on 68th street,” said Public Safety Director Michael Caliguiro. “Two actors were fleeing the area that had just assaulted an individual and had stolen what had appeared to be a money bag. He pursued the actors and placed them under arrest for robbery and assault. While I was writing this, Kesselica received a call from North Bergen police that there was a shooting, and within five minutes of the shooting, he apprehended the shooter.”
During the public speaking portion of the meeting, Ann Smith complained about noise coming from the Anna L. Klein School yard last week. Drasheff said that the school had rented out the school yard to a local church that they work closely with outside users in the case of a school lockdown, but admitted that it was done poorly and shouldn’t happen again.
Smith said that whoever was responsible should be fired or suspended.
Tricia Tirella may be reached at TriciaT@hudsonreporter.com.