At Monday evening’s conference meeting, the Bloomfield Council authorized the Engineering Department to issue an RFP for improvements to the Six Points, which is the intersection of Broad Street, Bloomfield Avenue, Washington Street and Glenwood Avenue.
The project had been delayed due to changes in the requirements to receive a grant from the Department of Transportation, necessitating the creation of a document detailing Standard Operating Procedures for managing such grants. The SOP document was approved at the previous council meeting on March 3.
The changes to the intersection will make it easier for pedestrians to cross and will allow for left turns off of Bloomfield Avenue going south, among other improvements.
Morris Canal Greenway Designation
The council also voted to designate the areas along the former Morris Canal in Bloomfield as a greenway. Rich Rockwell, a Trustee of the Bloomfield Historical Society, gave a brief presentation about the history of the canal. He explained that, except for Essex County, all of the other counties through which the canal passed have designated greenways along the canal’s route, enabling them to receive grants to enhance the areas for hiking and other outdoor recreation. Rockwell said that, in addition to other locations in town, the grounds of the Collins House would be part of Bloomfield’s greenway. The town-owned property overlooks JFK Drive, which was once Inclined Plane 11 East of the Morris Canal.
Rockwell also said he will be leading a 3-mile hike along the remaining sites of the canal on April 5. The council voted unanimously to move ahead with the greenway designation.
A hearing was held for Danny Premmauth, the owner of Moon Palace, a bar on Arlington Street, who had been before the council numerous times in the past due to ABC violations. His attorney asked that the council accept a 10-day voluntary closure along with a reduction in the number of people allowed in the building and earlier closing hours in response to the latest violations, which included incorrect employee lists and failure to post a notice in the ladies’ room.
The final agreement approved by the council allowed Premmauth to take a 13-day suspension, with seven consecutive days followed by three weeks of two-night closures. Only 140 patrons will be allowed in the bar and it will close at midnight every night of the week. The owners have been trying to sell the bar, their attorney explained. However, he said, the only offer they have on it is contingent on the buyer selling his other property first.
At the beginning of the meeting, there was a presentation regarding the proposed Shop Bloomfield program, wherein residents would receive tax deductions based on the amount of money they spend at local Bloomfield businesses. There would also be rebates for renters who spend locally. Members of the public were urged to check out the program being conducted in Marlboro, NJ, to understand more details about how their program is executed. The program in Marlboro was the first of its kind in the country, according to their website.
Jamie Serritella and George Schreck of the Essex County Building Trades spoke to urge the council to pass an ordinance that would require public projects costing over $5 million to allot the construction jobs with preference for local residents. It also would include an apprenticeship program to provide training for local residents to become skilled craftsmen or journeyman carpenters. Newark passed a similar ordinance in 2012.
The council voted in favor of putting out a bid to construct a digital L-shaped sign, which would be placed on the grounds of the Municipal Building on the Bloomfield Avenue side. The structure holding the sign would be constructed of similar materials to those of the Municipal Building in order to blend in. The purpose of the sign is to keep the public apprised of important announcements and events.
Councilman Chalet expressed concern that the Planning Board had recently turned down an application for a similar sign in front of the Sacred Heart Church and wondered if this would cause any problems for the town. Councilman Pomares, who is the liaison to the Historic District Review Board, stated that it should not cause any problem, as the reason the church sign was rejected was based on the fact the church is located within the township’s Historic District, which is not the case for the Municipal Building.
Anthony Nesto, Director of the Department of Public Works, announced that the “Adopt an Island” program is ready to begin. He said he had identified 19 local landscapers and sent them letters explaining the program, which would require the landscapers to provide maintenance to various intersections and islands in the township for a year, in exchange for having a sign publicizing their companies on the location they are maintaining. Nesto said six of the companies expressed interest. The locations will be chosen randomly, as some locations will be more advantageous to the landscaper than others. However, there are 16 possible locations, and depending on how many each landscaping company is interested in maintaining, their company’s names will be submitted for that number of locations, giving those with a willingness to do more an advantage in competing for more desirable locations.
Mayor Venezia announced that the council will hold a special conference meeting to discuss the 2014 budget on Monday, March 24, 2014, starting at 5:30 p.m. in the second floor conference room in the Law Enforcement Building. The next regular council meeting will be held on April 7, 2014 at 7 p.m. at the Brookdale School.