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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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Jersey City council says Team Walker nonprofit can consider vacant lot for community center

Friday, February 19, 2010
By MELISSA HAYES
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

A vacant lot on Communipaw Avenue could become a community center.

The Jersey City City Council unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday that will allow Team Walker, a city-based nonprofit, to perform a feasibility analysis on a parcel of city-owned land at 373-375-377 Communipaw Ave.

The resolution arose after Pine Street residents took issue with the organization's plan to build a center on their narrow, dead-end street, saying it did not fit in the area's redevelopment plan.

Brothers Jerry and Jasper Walker, star basketball players at St. Anthony High School, founded Team Walker in 1996. The Walkers had outstanding college careers, Jerry at Seton Hall University and Jasper at St. Peter's College.

The brothers continued to push for the Pine Street site until the residents hired a lawyer and appealed the plan with the Zoning Board. The site the City Council is allowing Team Walker to survey was suggested by Pine Street resident Miles Poindexter at a November council meeting.

His wife, Lycel Villanueva, an architect and professional planner, said the residents aren't opposed to the center, just the location and approval process, which seemed to expedite the project until residents took issue.

She said the center would be beneficial to the Lafayette neighborhood.

"Lafayette has a lot of vacant, abandoned parcels," she said. "I think a project such as Jerry's on a prominent part of Communipaw, getting something like this there is a boom to Lafayette. It would be good for the community."

The Communipaw Avenue site has been vacant for about 10 years.

Walker said he doesn't want to fight with the community and is working with the city to explore possible sites.

The resolution gives him 90 days to conduct a survey of the suggested site.

"We didn't come to an agreement with the city yet in terms of purchasing it," he said. "We're trying to be friendly with the neighbors and unify Bergen-Lafayette instead of be on opposite sides."

Walker has about $1 million in funding for the project, including about $822,000 in a federal Community Development Block Grant.

Posted on: 2010/2/19 15:48
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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And the general public should also know that public funding will be used for this project: the city has committed $822K for this project.

But the kicker is that the project's program, to date, is not yet defined -- Jerry Walker himself has not been consistent with his project description pertaining to the number of children to be served, hours of operation & activities anticipated in the center (these two are important from a land use perspective), etc. He even intends to put his Team Walker headquarters there -- that's an "office" use, i.e. private business, whether for profit or not (Note that "office" is also NOT a permitted use in the zone). His story seems to vary depending on who the audience is.

To add more info, the grant application is not even complete. How the city can commit nearly ONE MILLION DOLLARS for a project with an unarticulated function & purported benefit is incomprehensible. And, Czaplicki, as head of HEDC, also oversees the department that grants these public moneys.

Posted on: 2010/2/4 3:59
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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Quote:

JC_SOS wrote:
A response to IWitness

Perhaps these details could shed some light why a proposed "Childhood Development Center" should NOT be allowed at 183 Pine Street...


That must have taken quite a while to write up --- I think IWitness will be speechless!

Posted on: 2010/2/4 3:57
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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A response to IWitness

Perhaps these details could shed some light why a proposed "Childhood Development Center" should NOT be allowed at 183 Pine Street.

Background Info: The developer described the project as an after school center where 15 students, age 11-15, would be tutored. The developer is Team Walker, a non-profit organization headed by Jerry Walker, a popular personality in Lafayette.

The Site: 183 Pine Street, which is in the middle of a quaint, residential block & is NOT a corner property. It's in the Residential zone of the Morris Canal Redevelopment Plan.

In this zone, these are the Permitted Principal uses, as listed in the Plan:
<< a. Artist studio workspace
b. Community Facility (On parcels that abut Communipaw Avenue or Johnston Avenue)
c. House of Worship
d. Park
e. Parking that serves a park that is contained within the Residential Zone, and is within 100 feet of the park. Overnight parking shall be by permit only.
f. Residential
g. Public Purpose
h. Walkways and Bikeways >>

The Plan defines "Community Facility" as:
"Municipal, county, state, or not-for-profit enterprises that serve the public interest. Community facility shall include, but not be limited to the following services: adult day care, art education, child care, fire, health care, job training, library, police, recreation, school, or teen center. Community Facility shall not include prisons, or drug and narcotic rehabilitation centers. Community facilities are required to meet all Plan design standards and requirements and site development regulations."

However, the Plan does not define "Public Purpose" and the term is also not defined in the Jersey City Land Use Ordinance. So, it left "Public Purpose" be open to interpretation.

Jerry's application identified their project in the Planning Board application as "Public Purpose" despite the fact that it appears to fit a "Community Facility" use. Incredibly, the Planning Department DID NOT QUESTION the applicant's use classification, even after details were brought to their attention.

Tony Lambiase, the city's Zoning Director, did NOT certify it to be a permitted use in the zone. This would normally have halted the application dead on its tracks (unless the Plan is amended because one cannot typically get a use variance/deviation from a Redevelopment Plan). BUT ...

Carl Czaplicki, head of HEDC (yes, the same JC Official 3 from last summer's corruption sting), made the determination -- at the request of Team Walker's attorney, Connell Foley -- that the project is a "Public Purpose", therefore it's an allowed use at the site. The project application went ahead & was scheduled to go before the Planning Board ...

... UNTIL nine residents of Pine Street and Boltwood Street filed a formal appeal before the Zoning Board of Adjustment to contest the city's decision made by Czaplicki.

The appeal stayed the Planning Board application which is still pending because the appeal case was adjourned 'til next month.

Posted on: 2010/2/4 3:48
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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marybarr,
I think residents of this block would have argued just as strongly against ANY non-residential use of the lot, whether it was a store-front, doctors-office, or public park. Some blocks just have a special historical, residential character that is worth defending, especially when the zoning law is on their side. The house there now is historically significant worth saving. It just needs the right buyer to restore it.

Not one but a few alternatives have been suggested, which are only a few blocks away on the main avenue, which are larger and properly zoned for this center. I believe Team Walker is still considering these alternatives.

The uses of this center should not be limited to just a development center for 15 kids. If the location is moved, this center could serve the community and our children in many more ways, such as a weekend meeting center for non-profits, and a recreational center.

Posted on: 2010/1/20 15:37
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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YOU are honest.

Posted on: 2010/1/20 15:27
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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I would mind a youth center as long as the center made sure that the youth went home after the center closed and didn't vandalize my property, create havoc, rob people or make too much noise.

Posted on: 2010/1/20 15:23
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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I understand that the argument was supposedly based on the fact that the zoning is for residential--however if that was the only problem folk would not have argued so strongly against it. I get that youths are villainized but come up with an alternative if you care.

Posted on: 2010/1/20 15:21
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Str
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From the Hudson Reporter

Steven Pinkney Sr. supports Team Walker plan at 183 Pine St.

Dear Editor:

My name is Steven Pinkney Sr. I was director of the largest youth at risk initiative in the country. During the summer, we held a five day per week, full day program for school age children. During a run from 1988 to 1994 we kept hundreds of children occupied and could boast that there were no incidents of violence. Although Jersey City Recreation (which I hope to soon be a member) and the Board of Education operate school based initiatives with recreation highlighted, there is a large demand for structured afterschool and summer programs to keep our children off the streets.

Jerry Walker is a Jersey City icon, responsible for helping to put Saint Anthony’s basketball on the national map. He has returned to his Lafayette roots to take on the unenviable task of providing youth-based programs for our at risk youth. For a dozen years, he has held basketball games which turn negative energy of hundreds of youth into positive recreation. He runs an afterschool program at Ercel Webb P.S. 22 School and may be expanding to reach more children. Few successful athletes have such hands-on programs as Mr. Walker. Jerry Walker’s lineage boast of his family’s 70 years of community service in Lafayette.

The newspapers have been writing a series of articles based on a protest by a small group of residents from the Pine Street community in the Jersey City Lafayette area. This group’s representative has indicated that he has been a resident of this community for six years and doesn’t want Jerry Walker to build a community center on property owned by Jerry’s Team Walker organization. My understanding is that about 20 residents have appeared at City Council meetings, Planning Board meetings and have held small rallies on Pine Street in protest of the center. They have made public their support for a community center but not on my block.

I have been directly involved with Jerry’s current efforts to reach more children in a more diverse program. I have spoken to community residents and groups which outnumber this opposition 20 to 1. This group’s protest reflects a message that dealing with (black) youth results in a reduction in quality of life.

I know the opposite is true. A supported after-school program creates a unified family attitude in a community. The parents become involved, the community becomes involved and a bond between children is formed where they begin to recognize they are partners in the community. They can partake in community service related programs as part of the program, and instead of hundreds of angry disinterested youth roaming the neighborhood we can create hundreds of united and focused young people. Jerry is not responsible for the creation of programs for our youth but takes on the heavy responsibility and should be honored, not disrespected. Since this group is new to the community it should endeavor to create alliances instead of alienations.

Steven Pinkney Sr.

Posted on: 2010/1/20 9:29
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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Thank you Ricardo for continuing to cover this!
To re-iterate, 183 Pine Street is zoned for residential use only and we would like to preserve the structure as a single two-family house on one 50 ft. lot.

Basically when a developer of any kind comes into a neighborhood and wants to build something in Lafayette, he must follow the basic zoning regulations, adhere to the Redevelopment Plan, and also try to take into account legitimate feedback from the residents affected. Jerry is ignoring all of this with this particular project and seems to have hoped we would just lie down and let him do whatever he wants.

So we have appealed the zoning decision, which was based on a made-up definition of the one use in our plan which happens to be undefined - Public Purpose.

We will argue that Jerry's project belongs under the "Community Facility" use by all evidence presented for the proposal, and the sole reason that he did not put it under this use, was because it would not be allowed at this location.

If you want to support your fellow JC home-owners and residents who are tired of this city and developers walking all over the regulations in place and building anything, in any way, wherever they will profit most, then please come to the zoning board of appeals meeting on Jan. 21st.

miles
Contact me by email/PM for more details!

Posted on: 2010/1/12 18:29
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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Pine Street controversy continues
Planning Board postpones hearing on proposed educational facility

by Ricardo Kaulessar
Reporter Staff

The Jersey City Planning Board has postponed until Feb. 9 a hearing on 183 Pine St., where former high school basketball stars Jerry and Jasper Walker want to create an after-school tutoring program for seventh and eighth graders to be operated by the non-profit group Team Walker.

While the delay was requested by Walker, residents opposed to the project may use the time to try to persuade him to build his project at another location nearby.

The proposed facility would be two stories and have a few classrooms and a driveway for a transportation van. Walker plans to have 15 seventh and eighth-grade kids at a time in the building for after-school prep classes, aimed at preparing the students to get into some of the top high schools in the city, such as St. Peter’s Prep, St. Dominic Academy, or McNair Academic.

_____________

The Jersey City Planning Board will hold a hearing on 183 Pine St. on Feb. 9.
________


The issue was tabled for discussion at the board meeting Tuesday. According to Planning Board attorney Jay Hamill, the postponement was done at the request of Walker’s attorney, James McCann. McCann could not be reached for comment as to the reason for the postponement.

Not on our block

The Pine Street site is a double lot that Walker said is zoned for commercial use, and currently occupied by a boarded-up house that he would tear down. Walker has not purchased the property yet, saying they are awaiting approval for the facility from the Planning Board. Walker says they have over $920,000 in financing, including an $822,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

But some neighbors say while they support Walker’s program, they are unsure if 183 Pine St. is the right location. They spoke out at the Dec. 16 City Council meeting, their second appearance in front of the council in a one-month period.

The residents, including Lycel Villanueva, her husband Miles Poindexter, and fellow resident Deborah Sinico, have said the project will be a magnet for increased traffic and noise on a quiet, dead-end street.

The street is located in the city’s Bergen-Lafayette section.

They also expressed frustration at Walker for resisting their suggestions for alternative sites. Poindexter said he has reached out to Walker with different addresses within a few blocks of the site he is considering. Poindexter also read an e-mail in which Walker objected to a location at 378-380 Communipaw Ave., an abandoned two-story brick building, claiming it was located in an “unsafe area” based on a shooting that occurred in the vicinity.

Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at rkaulessar@hudsonreporter.com.

Posted on: 2010/1/10 15:15
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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my experiences living near Grace Church Van Vorst on the nights they're "keeping kids out of trouble" are enough to make me side with the residents of Pine Street.

Posted on: 2010/1/6 5:47
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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this is a city-wide issue - lack of adherence to and clearly defined redevelopment plans.

pick a well established block, home to generations - throw out rule of law, sound planning principles and representitive public boards .....

take a walk around Lafayette and lower Communipaw Ave. - is there no need to to develop the numerous vacant lots or "abandoned" buildings?

instead of squandering CBGB dollars on special deals that do not "make an area bettter", use the redevelopment tools to wrestle free "warehoused" land and put it to good use benefiting the surrounding area ....

good project, wrong location. we are a city of lost opportunities.

Jersey City at its best ............

Posted on: 2010/1/6 3:34
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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Walker is wrong here. The block is zoned for residential use only. This is the whole basis of the dispute.

Posted on: 2009/12/18 14:48
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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Quote:

jcmiles wrote:

The Pine Street site is a double lot that Walker said is zoned for commercial use, and currently occupied by a boarded-up house that would be torn down.


So, Walker is stating that the lot is presently zoned for commercial use. Poindexter and other opponents of the facility have stated in this thread that it is zoned for residential use only.

Who is right? I can't imagine it is that difficult to get an answer one way or another.

Posted on: 2009/12/7 14:58
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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from the Hudson Reporter:

Problem on Pine Street
Neighbors don’t want basketball stars to build tutoring center nearby

by Ricardo Kaulessar

Will it be just a facility for kids to come in the afternoon to prepare for high school, or a magnet for increased traffic and noise on a quiet, dead-end street?

That is the debate between two opposing groups over 183 Pine St., where a building will be constructed and operated by the Jersey City non-profit group Team Walker, run by former high school basketball stars Jerry and Jasper Walker. 

Team Walker currently operates after-school athletic and academic programs at Public School 22 on Van Horne Street. 

Jerry Walker, in a recent interview, said he has been looking for a spot for a facility in the Bergen-Lafayette area, where he has spent most of his life, for at least 10 years. But has run into problems with potential sites.

“There are vacant lots, but they are spoken for, as in, some developer already has a claim on the property,” Walker said.

The Pine Street site is a double lot that Walker said is zoned for commercial use, and currently occupied by a boarded-up house that would be torn down. Walker has not purchased the property yet, saying he is awaiting approval for the facility from the Planning Board at its next meeting on Dec. 15. As far as financing, he says he has over $920,000, including an $822,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).

Walker said the facility would be two stories, and have a few classrooms and a driveway for a transportation van. He plans to have 15 seventh and eighth-grade kids at a time in the building for after-school prep classes.

He says the kids are “high-achievers” from the various Team Walker programs, students that he is steering toward some of the top high schools in the city, such as St. Peter’s Prep, St. Dominic Academy, or McNair Academic.

But residents on Pine Street and the tiny block of Boltwood Street are unsure if 183 Pine St. is the right location for the new facility. They made their opposition known at the City Council meeting on Nov. 24, and they met last week at a closed meeting with Walker and City Councilwoman Viola Richardson to discuss alternative sites.

Build it somewhere else

Those who spoke in opposition at the Nov. 24 council meeting actually support Walker’s program – they just prefer to see the facility built somewhere else.

Miles Poindexter lives with his wife and two young children at 175 Pine St., a restored 1871 house only a few doors down from Walker’s proposed site. Poindexter wants his block to remain purely residential.

“I’m not sure why Mr. Walker is trying to build a commercial structure in the middle of this residential block at 183 Pine St.,” Poindexter said. “I don’t know why he would want this lot, because there are so many empty lots on Communipaw Avenue that are mixed-use and commercial.”

Last week in a posting on the local website, jclist, Poindexter said he had located a site at 378-380 Communipaw Ave. with an abandoned two-story brick building. 

Another Pine Street resident, Deborah Sinico, said at the meeting, “We would like to help Jerry find a suitable location; Pine Street is not a suitable location.”

Another Pine Street resident, Bernice Davis, said the project has to be questioned because the federal CDBG funding for the project benefits very few children, which she said is not a “good use” of taxpayer dollars.

However, Walker had his supporters too, such as Susan Curry, a lifelong Pine Street resident. She said Walker’s project represents three valuable components for success in society – “family,” “community” and “development.” 



http://hudsonreporter.com/pages/full_ ... Pine+Street-Neighbors+don’t+want+basketball+stars+to+build+tutoring+center+nearby-%20&id=5014398-Problem+on+Pine+Street-Neighbors+don’t+want+basketball+stars+to+build+tutoring+center+nearby-&instance=jersey_city_story_left_column

Posted on: 2009/12/7 14:51
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Str
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I don't live down on Pine St. but it seem many of those side streets are quite tiny. I don't think its a NIMBY issue. Where will the faculty park? Where will the parents who pick up the kids park? How will delivery trucks drop things off or school busses drop off kids? Those things do have to be considered.

Posted on: 2009/12/2 20:12
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Str
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Regulator - Say what you will but I bet you a million bucks you would not welcome (with open arms) a community center like the one Jerry Walker is asking for next to your home.

Pine Street is not zoned for mixed use and rightly so. It's barely a two lane road and the houses are packed in there. Drive down Pine Street and honestly tell me that this is a ideal location for everyone involved.

Remember, within 1 square mile there are numerous zoned for "mixed use" spaces available. Scores of them that no one would have any issues with.


this reminds me of the homeless people thread... "no don't get me wrong; i'm ALL FOR helping homeless people / making a shelter / giving them a place to sleep... just not on my block". perpetuate this line a few times, grow it to a national level, and - tada! welcome to the downfall of american society.[/quote]

Posted on: 2009/12/2 19:04
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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We would be happy to have this in our neighborhood also. But what we have been saying is that this is a planning/zoning issue.

I am in the process of helping Team Walker select an alternative site and have suggested 378-380 Communipaw Ave.
The advantages of this lot are:

1. same size lot but $25,000 cheaper. That is just based on the asking price. I'm fairly certain the owner would sell for an offer much lower than that.

2. The existing bldg on this lot is a solid, two story brick bldg. It would only need some renovation to modify it to be classrooms. No teardown would be necessary.

3. It is in the correct zoning for the use Team Walker intends. Communipaw Ave. is a mixed use zone with both commercial and residential use allowed. The center being proposed falls under the "Community Facility" use, which would be allowed here.

4. This property is only a few blocks from PS22, where most of the kids will be coming from. Much closer than Pine St.

So we are waiting for Team Walker's reply on this lot, and there are others available too. Since this alternative site is only three blocks from Pine Street, he would still be in the Lafayette Community where this is needed, so everyone is happy.

I will post more news as things happen . . .

miles

Posted on: 2009/12/2 17:53
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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It needs to go somewhere and it doesn't sound like you want it in your neighborhood, and I really wouldn't mind it in mine. Possibly because we are set back from the street and wouldn't have the noise. But wouldn't it be closing early? I don't want to minimize your concerns but I would rather have the kids occupied doing positive things in my neighborhood than the alternatives.

Posted on: 2009/12/2 17:01
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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Should have proof my post better. I screwed up. U get the point.

Posted on: 2009/12/2 6:33
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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Quote:

lulu wrote:
As part of the community, I very much support programs to benifit our children. My question is how much of the $822,000 (stated in today's Jersey Journal) is going toward the children? If the money is being used to buy the property, tear it down and build new, it doesn't seem like there is any money for the children. Also, this is only for a select 15 children, which was stated by Mr. Walker in several community meetings, and not for all the children of our community. It was also mentioned these children are already in an after school program at 22 school. With $822,000 we would be able to send at least 400 students from the community to schools like ST. Peter's Prep and St. Dominics for the entire 4 yrs or even to college. $822,000 just for a bldg, I don't see how that benifts our children!


Prone to exaggeration much?

Basic math:

$822,000

divided by

400

= $2,055

which, divided by 4 (years of private high school)

= $513.75

which is apparently what you think the annual tuition at St. Peter's Prep or St. Dom's is.

Which makes me LOL.

As to the "substance" of your argument, such as it were - you sound like you're arguing against basic infrastructure. Which, by your logic, means that charities or not-for-profits should not actually have a physical building/home, because, well, THAT money should go to the [insert charitable cause here], not to some silly building in which to operate that charity.

Forest/trees fail.

NIMBY win, though.

Posted on: 2009/12/2 5:50
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Str
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81905 wrote:
Missing the point entirely marybarr.......As a parent and concerned citizen, I want these centers and programs for our JC youth. They are proven to help, especially kids who come from tough homes and ones who are disadvantaged. It goes without saying that the country as a whole needs more of them. The people of Pine Street just don't want it on thier narrow, tightly housed residential street and neither would you. Pick a more suitable location (which there are many) is all they are saying marybarr.


this reminds me of the homeless people thread... "no don't get me wrong; i'm ALL FOR helping homeless people / making a shelter / giving them a place to sleep... just not on my block". perpetuate this line a few times, grow it to a national level, and - tada! welcome to the downfall of american society.

Posted on: 2009/12/2 4:28
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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As part of the community, I very much support programs to benifit our children. My question is how much of the $822,000 (stated in today's Jersey Journal) is going toward the children? If the money is being used to buy the property, tear it down and build new, it doesn't seem like there is any money for the children. Also, this is only for a select 15 children, which was stated by Mr. Walker in several community meetings, and not for all the children of our community. It was also mentioned these children are already in an after school program at 22 school. With $822,000 we would be able to send at least 400 students from the community to schools like ST. Peter's Prep and St. Dominics for the entire 4 yrs or even to college. $822,000 just for a bldg, I don't see how that benifts our children!

Posted on: 2009/12/2 4:04
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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Missing the point entirely marybarr.......As a parent and concerned citizen, I want these centers and programs for our JC youth. They are proven to help, especially kids who come from tough homes and ones who are disadvantaged. It goes without saying that the country as a whole needs more of them. The people of Pine Street just don't want it on thier narrow, tightly housed residential street and neither would you. Pick a more suitable location (which there are many) is all they are saying marybarr.


marybarr wrote:
Oh but you will be the first to complain if a kid with nothing better to do throws a rock through a window or worse. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.[/quote]

Posted on: 2009/12/1 20:29
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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As a resident of the block of Pine Street being discussed here, let me clarify our arguments. This block is zoned as a residential block, and this is not a residential use of the lot. That is the basic conflict. This is a planning / zoning issue and nothing else.

We have been working on getting the Redevelopment Agency to offer another property in our neighborhood on a mixed-use street such as Communipaw Ave. or Pacific Ave.

Posted on: 2009/12/1 20:25
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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Oh but you will be the first to complain if a kid with nothing better to do throws a rock through a window or worse. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Posted on: 2009/12/1 17:35
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Re: Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Str
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Surely, with all the vacant lots in this city they could come up with a better location. I would be fighting tooth and nail to keep this off of my residential street. For one, what does "community center" really mean? Also, how many kids will this center accomodate and when will they being using it? Imagine 50-100 kids running around there come Spring?! Talk about loosing any sort of peace and quiet on your narrow residential street. Unreal!

Posted on: 2009/12/1 2:43
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Bergen Lafayette Neighborhood rallies against proposed after-school community center on Pine Street
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Neighborhood rallies against proposed community center on Pine Street in Jersey City

By Melissa Hayes/The Jersey Journal
November 30, 2009, 7:16PM

Residents of Pine Street who are opposed to a community center being built on their block gather outside the vacant building targeted for the project.

A Jersey City nonprofit that runs after-school programs wants to open a community center on Pine Street -- but residents say the narrow, dead-end street isn't the place for such a center.

About 40 people attended the Jersey City City Council meeting last Tuesday, many to protest the proposed plan, but some to support Team Walker and its programs.

Team Walker was founded in 1996 by Jersey City natives Jasper Walker and his brother Jerry. Jerry Walker was a star basketball player at St. Anthony High School and Seton Hall University.

Jerry Walker said the organization runs its programs out of public schools and has been looking for its own space for about 10 years. The Pine Street site is close to School 22 and would serve children in that neighborhood, he said.

Walker wants to buy a double lot with a vacant building that would be torn down to make room for the center.

"I understand the concerns of the citizens around there, but the kids that I deal with, they know how to behave," he said. "I don't think there will be a problem or an issue with the safety of their families."

Walker has about $1 million in funding for the project, including about $822,000 in a federal Community Development Block Grant.

Residents described Pine Street and nearby Boltwood Street as a quiet area, occupied by families that don't want to see increased traffic.

See last year's Jersey Journal Legends & Landmarks feature and videos by John Gomez on the restoration of a Victorian home on Pine Street

"We on Pine Street are not against what Jerry is doing. We would like to help Jerry find a suitable location," Pine Street resident Deborah Sinico said at the meeting. "Pine Street is not a suitable location."

Resident Miles Poindexter suggested the city sell Walker two lots it owns on Communipaw Avenue.

Resident Dianna Guadagnino suggested vacant land on Pacific Avenue.

Walker said zoning laws allow for a center on Pine Street. He still has to have plans approved by the Planning Board, which bumped him from its Dec. 1 agenda after residents raised concerns.

Resident Chantel Snow lives next to a school where Team Walker operates an after-school program.

"Although the center will be placed on their street, their quality of life should not really be affected that much," Snow said. "We cannot underestimate the value of programs and after school activities."

Posted on: 2009/12/1 0:38
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