This month, Mayor Raymond McCarthy spoke to Patch about some of the issues important to the township, especially the redevelopment of the downtown district.
In the second of a 2-part interview about the state of the township in mid-year 2012, the mayor discusses what’s happening now and what’s ahead for the township.
PATCH: In the coming year, what steps will you take to move the development process ahead?
McCARTHY: I will continue to put the town forward in any way I can. I’ll continue to talk with the developers and with the townspeople, and battle to get things done.
I probably started this about 15 years ago when I was the Chairman of the Business Advisory Board. It's been a long trek. Nothing comes easy. Private and public partnerships are never easy.
But [in the near future] I see more people coming into town, better businesses coming into town. I see people realizing that this is a vibrant community. I think it's all upward from here.
PATCH: Will have an effect on whether the redevelopment can move forward?
McCARTHY: I don't really see that lawsuit going anywhere. Is [the Appellate Court judge] going to find something different from what the last judge found? Every count was dismissed. If you look at the base of it, it's a frivolous case.
PATCH: So you feel optimistic the redevelopment project will be able to move ahead despite the appeal?
McCARTHY: Yes. It's going ahead. [Developer] Bill Colgan spent $11 million of his own money on the downtown development. Now he's moving Bloomfield College in the new development area. That's what you want in the community. What could be better for the downtown?
Once the parking garage goes up you'll see people all over town. The upside is tremendous. It's not a coincidence that BMW was willing to spend $15 million to stay here when they rebuilt two years ago.
Remediation is well under way. We got a grant from the Whitman Group -- they found 12 oil tanks under the Farrand Street lot. They're cleaning up the area to residential standards.
When the parking garage is finished, even Cary Heller said it will be filled to 100% capacity. We’ll get back $3.5 million on You throw that back to any investor and he’ll take it. It's a
PATCH: Do you believe the township can earn revenue on the parking garage?
McCARTHY: Parking garages in Jersey City, Hoboken, New Brunswick, South Orange and Patterson -- they all make money. They don't make enormous amounts of money but they make money. It pays the bills and will give us a little extra because of the fact that
PATCH: What do you have to say about
McCARTHY: It doesn't make any sense because [taxpayers will] have to assume the debt of the Parking Authority if it shuts down. Where will that go? In your tax bill.
Where is the study to say this is feasible?
Councilman Venezia petitions and works hard to get the Parking Authority board from 5 to 7 people, and and then shuts it down? If you have a solution I'm all ears, if not I'm all fight.
PATCH: Do you think he will be successful in closing it?
PATCH: Do you plan to respond to residents’ complaints that they are being of town?
McCARTHY: We don't have grace periods on the meters. We're going to take a look at that. One option we're looking at is whether you could pay through your cell phone, like Hoboken is doing already.
PATCH: Is there any news with the hiring of a new Township Administrator?
McCARTHY: Resumes are coming in. We’ve got a fair amount now, the process is moving along. At the end of August we’ll look at all the resumes and hopefully find someone soon.
PATCH: What would you say are the top priorities for Bloomfield right now?
McCARTHY: The most important thing is the downtown redevelopment. Getting it started, getting it completed. After that, it's getting some of the other projects underway. The senior building across the street is important because it’s an affordable housing obligation.
To read Part 1 of McCarthy's Mid-Year interview with Patch, click
On August 14, the mayor will host a public information session to address questions and concerns about the town center redevelopment project. The meeting will take place at 7:00 p.m. at Bloomfield College, College Hall, Room 16, on Liberty and Spruce Streets. Along with McCarthy, Bloomfield Parking Authority Attorney Joseph Baumann, Jr. and Bill Colgan, Managing Partner of Bloomfield Center Urban Renewal will answer questions from the community.
Click HERE to blog on Patch