Articles Archive for February 2013
I wanted to share with you a mail piece that was sent out in support of Recreation and Athletic Programs providing our children with a safe and secure place to play at the John T. Wright Arena.
The mailer is posted directly below for your convenience.
Once again I would urge you all to attend the upcoming Council Meeting to be held on Tuesday, February 26th at 7:30pm at the Municipal Court, 75 South Van Brunt Street. It will be a critical meeting to decide the fate of the recreational and athletic programs at the John T. Wright Arena. I would encourage you all to attend the meeting and weigh in on this most important matter.
Mayor Frank Huttle III
I wanted to share my presentation from the town hall meeting on February 11th on Recreation and Athletic Programs for the City’s Youth in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club at the John T. Wright Arena. You can find it by clicking on the link directly below. For those of you who did not attend, I hope this will give you an idea of the challenges and historic opportunities we have regarding John T. Wright Arena. For those of you who did attend you may want to take a second look especially since we tried to cover a lot of ground at the meeting.
I would like to thank all of those who came out to express an opinion and make their voices heard at the town hall. I urge you all to attend the upcoming Council Meeting to be held on Tuesday, February 26th at 7:30pm at the Municipal Court, 75 South Van Brunt Street. It will be a critical meeting to decide the fate of the recreational and athletic programs of the partnership with the Boys and Girls Club at the John T. Wright Arena. I urge you all to attend the meeting at the City Council Chambers and weigh in on this most important matter.
Mayor Frank Huttle
The Budget for 2013 will be one of the greatest challenges the City of Englewood has yet faced in the ongoing recovery of its municipal finances. The fiscal and budgetary climate facing the City, which is part and parcel of the external factors facing all New Jersey Municipalities, makes the balancing of the City Budget daunting. In addition, the City is still recuperating from decisions taken internally and the economic crisis of 2008.
Acknowledging these realities, Mayor Huttle has scheduled budget hearings well in advance of the upcoming late winter and early spring deadlines to make sure the budget process is well underway. Additionally, as part of a directive from the Mayor, the City Manager has begun preparations necessary for the Council and the Administration to be able to work through these challenges. The goal is the delivery of a budget for 2013 that maintains tax relief and keeps Englewood on the road to long term fiscal and budgetary recovery and health.
During my State of the City Address at a Special Council Meeting held on Ocotber 16, 2012, we welcomed Professor Raphael Caprio of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. He gave an address on the sustainability of the current taxation and finance model of municipalities in the State of New Jersey. His powerpoint is posted immediately below.
I posted my State of the City Address directly below.
Englewood Economic Development Corporation (EEDC)
Statement of Purpose
The mission of the Englewood Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) is to attract, retain and grow businesses and jobs in the City of Englewood.
To fulfill its mission, the Corporation has three fundamental tasks:
1. Cooperate with the public officials, residents and business community of the City of Englewood to develop and execute strategic plans that focus on improvement of the City’s economic base and enhancement of its business environment; and
2. Fulfill the Corporation’s statutory duty to act as the District Management Corporation overseeing the operation of the downtown Special Improvement District established by the City on May 20, 1986.
3. Facilitate the economic development of the City by taking on such additional supervisory roles as the City and the Corporation may deem mutually beneficial.
Each year the Corporation shall review and update its strategic plan and identify projects to be actively pursued by its committees. The Corporation, as well as its committees, shall be composed of individuals with the expertise, experience, and dedication necessary to fulfill its current and long-term objectives.
I would like to invite you to a very important Town Hall Meeting that I will be hosting on the partnership that we have created with the Boys and Girls Club of Garfield involving youth recreational programs both during the school day, after 3 and weekends at the John T. Wright Ice Arena, MacKay Park and other City facilities, the Boys and Girls Club of Englewood.
This Town Meeting comes at an important time. The City Council in 2011 overwhelming voted to re-open the John T. Wright Ice Arena last year. I had deep concern that, should the Ice Arena re-open, it must provide substantial ice skating programs to our children and much more. My goal remains that the Arena cannot be about “Ice in Isolation” but must be a year round facility offering a variety of recreational programs for our children.
After close to two years of work, on October 1st of last year a partnership was created with the Boys and Girls Club of Garfield that would create the Boys and Girls Club of Englewood (the program name having been approved by the Boys and Girls Club of America) with a full set of school day and after 3 programs for our City’s Youth. Together with a leadership grant from Benzel- Busch Motor Car Corp., which enabled the Laureus Foundation and Coaches Across America to join the partnership and with participation by the School District, these programs will be historic in scope.
The larger vision is to create a public – non-profit – philanthropic partnership between the City, the Boys and Girls Club and other non-profits, and private individual donors. This Public/Private partnership would allow the programs to be robust and run indefinitely, benefiting our children for years to come. This is the same model that I used successfully when reinventing the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC) as one of the leading performing arts and educational centers in the State. It is also important to highlight that 100% of profits made by the Boys and Girls Club will go directly to Englewood youth programs.
That vision and the programs it would bring are in jeopardy at present due to lack of full Council support of the agreement with the Boys and Girls Club that the Council previously voted on. With decades of neglect at the John T. Wright Ice Arena combined with the effects of Superstorm Sandy, the Ice Arena requires a commitment by the City. The recently introduced Bond Ordinance is that commitment, but the real issue here is not about the capital improvements it’s about the opportunity for our children.
I asked the Council and it voted to introduce the Bond Ordinance to promote an unfiltered, full and open public discussion on this Ordinance and allow each resident the opportunity to fully participate, weigh in and share their opinions on these important decisions before the Council votes upon it later this month.
The total cost of the capital improvements would be substantially covered by insurance proceeds and the rental income on the property, with little annual cost to the taxpayer. Should the Council vote to replace the roof only this month or if it refused to make the necessary improvements to assure the facility is safe, the Boys and Girls Club year round programs will be lost and the facility will continue to be an eye sore in MacKay Park.
The John T. Wright Ice Arena is just one vehicle to deliver these programs and there is opportunity to expand them to other City facilities but this is the critical first step.
I would ask that you please attend and participate in this important meeting and also make you fellow residents aware of it as well, particularly grandparents, parents and school age children. Please ask them to join us and let their voices be heard!
The meeting will be held on Monday, February 11th at 6.30 PM at Community Baptist Church. I have posted an invitation right below this post for your convenience. Please forward it via email or distribute it in any way you wish.
I’m looking forward to seeing you there!
Mayor Frank Huttle
Please see the invitation below and join me for a very important Town Hall Meeting that I will be hosting on the partnership that we have created with the Boys and Girls Club of Garfield involving youth recreational programs both during the school day, after 3 and weekends at the John T. Wright Ice Arena, MacKay Park and other City facilities, the Boys and Girls Club of Englewood. I hope that you join me there and share your thoughts during the open discussion.
Mayor Frank Huttle
I wanted to share my remarks from the Council Meeting on January 29th for those of you who were not able to attend.
Mayor Frank Huttle
Council Meeting – January 29, 2013
Tonight we have two very important capital projects that are before the Council for a vote of Introduction. Both capital projects are located in the 4th Ward and long overdue.
The first is the Restoration of the Overpeck Creek Channel Wall. Some parts of the channel wall are supported by one hundred year old concrete and are ready to fail, while other areas have already failed. What has resulted is a dangerous situation that jeopardizes the private property on William Street and greatly enhances the risk of flooding. I have worked on the project to secure funding for over three years and two County Executives and Freeholder Boards. I am pleased that Bergen County has provided the City with a Grant in the amount of $550,000 which enabled the City to really start the project moving.
The second capital project is the restoration and enhancement of MacKay Park and the John T. Wright Ice Arena.
Both of these projects come before the Council this evening as a Bond Ordinance to provide critical capital funding. I am asking the Council tonight to vote in favor of the introduction of this Bond Ordinance which will allow full and transparent government so that all residents of the community can participate in full public hearings to hear the facts on the needs of the City in an unfiltered manner. Introduction of this Ordinance will allow for a full and open public discussion, education session, and debate on the City’s need.
In particular, as to the needs of MacKay Park and the John T. Wright Ice Arena, this is all part of a larger goal, which I have had since my first days in office, to restore MacKay Park to be a showpiece of the City as well as a center of programming and activity for our children, year round, during school hours and after 3:00.
My goal in not about “Ice” in “Isolation”, rather it is about a full complement of athletic programs for our children. The John T. Wright Ice Arena must be a year round facility for our children and I do not support anything short of this.
To make sure we serve our community, we must embrace the community to hear their views, their opinions on how we best can serve our children, especially when it comes to Mackay Park. So the question is how to do it?
Number One. Tonight I ask the council to vote to introduce the Ordinance so that the residents see the needs unfiltered and can weigh the facts independently. I want to emphasize that voting for introducing does not mean any Council Member is ultimate going to support this project.
Number Two. On Monday, February 11th, at 6:30 p.m., I am pleased to announce a Town Meeting on MacKay Park, including the John T. Wright Arena, at the Community Baptist Church. I invite all to attend, participate and let your voices be heard. My special thanks goes to Reverend Taylor who once again has generously opened the doors of the Church for the Community as a whole. This Town Meeting will follow a similar format of the highly successful master plan meetings. In this case, parents, grandparents and children can share their opinions on the needs of Mackay and how best to provide programs for our children.
Number Three. On Tuesday, February 12, at 7:30PM, pending introduction tonight, this Capital Project will be on the City Council Agenda to allow the Council to fully discuss the ordinance and allow for modifications if necessary. Public participation is welcome and I urge all to attend.
Number Four. On Tuesday, February 24th at 7.30PM the Public Hearing and vote on the Ordinance will be held.
There is an old saying that from crisis comes opportunity. We have had a crisis in MacKay Park and the John T. Wright Ice Arena both from Superstorm Sandy and years of neglect, but we also have an opportunity. The opportunity is to invest and make these assets centers of programming and activity all year round, and take the first concrete step for a Community Center using our existing facilities to develop and promote programs for our kids.
In partnership with the City, the Boys and Girls Club will develop, coordinate and administer programs year round benefiting the residents of the City of Englewood. This includes most importantly Sports and Recreational Programs, Educational Programs and Programs designed to meet the specific needs of Teens and Youth of the City of Englewood.
With respect to the John T. Wright Arena, there will be much more than several months of ice for hockey teams to use from other communities. There will be a leading ice figure skating program, children’s ice program and much more during the ice season, and then 9 months more of programs for our children. When the ice season is over, the switch will be turned to new programs at the John T. Wright Arena and MacKay Park.
My further goal for Mackay Park, is to create a structure of private funding that will keep it and its programming running indefinitely. Lynne and I have started this work. And we have received the first leadership gift for our public school children – a generous donation from the Benzel-Busch Motor Car Company that has enabled the work of the Laureus Foundation and Coaches Across America.
I ask that the resident stay tuned and also weigh in as we move through this process. I again invite everyone to attend the town hall meeting on February 11th at 6.30PM at the Community Baptist Church and look forward to a lively discussion there.
I wanted to share the article that appeared in the Bergen Record yesterday on the John T. Wright Ice Arena and MacKay Park in case you missed it. It is reprinted below for your convenience.
Mayor Frank Huttle
$1.1M spending plan for Englewood’s Mackay Park arena advances
THURSDAY JANUARY 31, 2013, 3:28 PM
BY REBECCA BAKER
ENGLEWOOD – A plan to spend $1.1 million to repair the city’s dilapidated Mackay Park arena has moved ahead, but the future of the 35-year-old ice rink is far from certain.
The spending plan barely passed the first step, with council members voting 3-2 this week to introduce a borrowing package that combined the ice rink project with a $2 million repair of a 100-year-old retaining wall along Overpeck Creek. The city would borrow the $3.1 million total for both projects by issuing bonds.
City council members say they question how much the city really needs to spend to reopen the John T. Wright Arena in Mackay Park, where decades of neglect were exacerbated by superstorm Sandy, which tore apart the roof and left the inside exposed to the elements. Others say they want a clearer picture of how fixing the ice rink fits into the city’s overall recreation program.
“The roof makes a lot of sense, but when you go into other things, like a snack bar, I don’t see why that’s essential to the operation of the rink,” said Councilman Michael Cohen. “I mean, $45,000 for a state-of-the-art cafeteria?”
The city signed a 10-year contract last year with the Boys & Girls Club of Garfield to manage the arena, which has been closed since April when the city allowed its contract with longtime rink manager Larry Reid to expire. In preparation for its planned reopening last fall, the city spent $450,000 on rink renovations, including a new cooling tower, heating system, pipes, valves and gas lines, bought a new Zamboni and repaved the parking lot.
City administrators now want to spend another $480,000 to replace the netting, rubber flooring, dasher boards, scoreboard and sound system, among other items. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the city’s insurance are expected to cover the estimated $720,000 for the roof, which was shredded in the Oct. 29 storm.
Cohen said he wants a line-item review of ice rink spending, but joined council members Marc Forman and Lynne Algrant in voting to move the plan forward. Councilmen Eugene Skurnick and Wayne Hamer voted no.
Hamer, who represents the ward in which Mackay Park and the damaged retaining wall are located, said he was not opposed to fixing the rink. But, he said, the project should be a component of a more comprehensive plan for recreation.
“I want whatever we do to be part of a more expanded recreation solution,” he said. “I want a commitment to enhance Mackay Park and activities.”
Mayor Frank Huttle has said he wants the ice rink, used mainly by youth hockey leagues, to be a year-round “showpiece” for recreation programs. He has scheduled a town-hall style meeting on Feb. 11, to let residents weigh in about what they want done with the ice rink and Mackay Park.
“We have the opportunity to enhance Mackay Park as a shining star of Englewood,” he said.
The 28.6-acre park, the largest in the city, is in the heart of the 4th Ward. It offers basketball and tennis courts, a baseball and softball diamond, a soccer field, a kiddie pool, bike path and playgrounds, as well as a picnic area.
The meeting will take place at the Community Baptist Church on First Street, also in the 4th Ward, and a day before the council meets to discuss the rink and retaining wall spending plan. A public hearing and vote are scheduled for Feb. 26.