April 2014 Newsletter

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Easter Bunny Hunt!

When: Sunday April 13th (rain date 4/19), 1:30pm start

The HCA is planning a brand new event for the community: Where’s the Easter Bunny? Since Harsimus Cove has no park in its borders for an Easter Egg hunt, we decided to hide the next best thing: Mr. E. Bunny himself. Children will receive a clue as to his location at Grove Street PATH Plaza that will take them to a participating Newark Avenue merchant and the children will receive a treat, the parents a coupon and a clue to the next location. The children will proceed from clue to clue down Newark, finally reaching Mercado Park at Jersey Avenue, where they will find the Bunny in question, as well as Andi Green reading from her Worrywoo children’s books, Carol Lester leading a sing-along, and other fun activities.

Special thanks to Steve Milgrom and Evette Gaetan for putting this event together. Also, thanks to Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia, Freeholder Junior Maldonado and the wonderful people at the Office of Cultural Affairs for assistance bringing this idea to life.

Newark Avenue Closing?

There is an ordinance set to go before City Council to turn Newark Avenue from Grove Street to Barrow Street and a small portion of Erie Street into a pedestrian plaza and then redirect the surrounding streets around these closures. This is set to be a pilot program, lasting one year.  This will be before City Council on April 23rd. If you want to speak on the subject, get on the speaker’s list by calling the city clerk's office at (201) 547-5150. The second reading will be May 14th. 

But there’s a bigger issue:  Our board was only informed of this LAST week.

Apparently the city reached out the Historic Downtown Special Improvement District, but not the HCA, the very organization the represents the people who live in the area that will be affected by this closure. Whether or not this idea has merit belies the underlying problem: The city is not involving its citizens in plans that directly affect them. This is wholly unacceptable. The HCA should not have to scramble around to inform its constituents and reach a decision on a given issue. This seems reminiscent of the plan to replace the JCMC with McCabe for EMS services for the city. (The HCA came out in favor of having the JCMC continue as the provider).

Litter Patrol Returns this Saturday!

Our corps of volunteers who help clean up the streets of our Harsimus Cove will be back on Saturday, April 12 (9:30 – 11am) and are looking to add some new faces to their ranks. Come on out and help our Vice President of Beautification Mike Francisco at Jersey Avenue and 6th Street.  The patrol will then work their way south to 1st Street.

Litter Patrol meets every two weeks, usually on Saturday mornings from 9:30 to 11am, weather permitting. But wait! This year, for the first time, you get to decide the location and time. Want the Litter Patrol to help you and your neighbors clean your street? Prefer Sunday mornings instead? Let us know a few days before the Patrol on the Facebook group page, on Twitter or by email. We'll help get the word out to ensure a big turnout.

Pulaski Skyway Closes Today

The Skyway closure, which is set to last two years, begins this Saturday. The city has been given a budget to handle extra police to handle the traffic congestion than may result from it. If you see a problem, let us know so we can inform the city and hopefully get it resolved.

Villa Borinquen Residents Organizing

As a result of several ongoing issues the tenants have been having with the management of the Villa Borinquen, the residents of this community are working to form a tenants association to provide a more salient voice for its residents. The HCA will hear some of the issues that have arisen at our next meeting.

8 Erie Walkway

After nearly a year of wrangling with the city, the HCA was able to get the fencing that blocked the sidewalk moved back several feet, allowing pedestrians a safer means of walking on Erie Street. The project is expected to be completed in June, so neighbors will get a month or two more of use of this narrow walkway before we get the entire sidewalk back. Special thanks to Stephen Musgrave and Jeremy Jacobson for being so vigilant on this safety issue.

PS37/Cordero School Annex

Since the HCA became aware of the pre-K school issue due to the verbal fireworks at our March meeting, the Board has taken steps to get up to speed on the many facets of this important issue.
A little background: In the neighboring Hamilton Park area, there is a largely vacant 24-classroom school building that formerly housed the Golden Door Charter School. The Board of Education has been using four of these classrooms for pre-K classes as part of an arrangement with the previous administration. With Mayor Fulop’s election, it has been an open question what the fate of the Cordero annex building will be. The school is zoned for both Hamilton Park and Harsimus Cove resident children.

If a new arrangement cannot be reached between the City and the BOE, then resident pre-K children will have to be bussed across the city to another school, likely in Ward B. There is a lot of history and details to this situation, and I won’t go into them all here.  Here’s what the board has done:  We met with BOE president Sangeeta Ranade and then attended a meeting with Deputy Mayor Vivian Brady-Philips to hear both sides. After hearing both sides, as well as the position of our bordering Hamilton Park Neighborhood Association, we would like the BOE and the City to negotiate a way to use the 4 classrooms at the Annex this year with a long-term plan to lease the entire building going forward. We laid this out in an email just a few days ago. A special thanks to Ward E Councilperson Candice Osborne for scheduling the meeting with the City on this important subject.

Next General Meeting

The next general meeting will be held at Grace Church Van Vorst on the second Monday of the month, this coming Monday, April 14th, at 7:30pm. Our guest speaker will likely be Mike Razzoli, Director of the Department of Public Works or someone from his office to discuss the Newark Avenue closing. Yvonne Garlin, from Doors of Hope, has also been invited to speak.

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