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Monday, June 4, 2007

Green and the Park Hotel: Just an election gambit?

The Park Hotel, West 7th Street and Arlington Avenue

Assemblyman Jerry Green kicked up quite a dust devil when he proposed at the May 21 Council agenda session that the Park Hotel be closed -- while humanely relocating the residents, of course.

But one acquaintance didn't think it was even worth a shot of bottom-shelf rotgut whiskey.

"Just an election season attention grab," this person opined.

Well, here we are, day before the Primary election -- in which the Assemblyman will coast to another two-year ride on the Trenton merry-go-round -- and nothing has been heard of about the Park Hotel since the flurry in the press and the blogs two weeks ago.

Too bad.

Seems there are TWO THINGS the Assemblyman could do to get the ball rolling, if he wants.

FIRST, there have been rumors in the street for a long time that there is a con going on with the Park Hotel management transporting the residents to other locations for 'services.' To my knowledge, neither the papers nor the Assemblyman have investigated whether the rumor has any fact behind it. If it were true, a look-see could possibly force the State to investigate or the owners to clean up their act, or both.

SECOND, why not relocate the residents into new and smaller group homes of about 20 residents (
the current fashion), by building same as part of the TRANSIT VILLAGE DEVELOPMENTS being planned? The State has a huge pot of money to invest (I hear it's about $200M) in some creative projects for this purpose. Why shouldn't Assemblyman Green kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, by locating the new group homes in close proximity to our commuter stations?

Besides, as chair of the Assembly committee tasked with overseeing the issue, he is positioned like no other player to be able to achieve such an inherently beneficial public good.

So, was it just a canard? A test of which way the wind is blowing? Or the opening move in a truly creative development in Plainfield?

Background on the Park Hotel discussion --
May 25
Plainfield Today: "Assemblyman Green urges closing of Park Hotel" -- Transcription of the Ledger story which never appeared online.
May 24
Plainfield Today: "Park Hotel-YMCA: Axis of Gentrification?"
Plain Talker: "Another Look at the Park Hotel"
May 23
Plain Talker: "Park Hotel: Selling Wolf Tickets?", "Correction from Cory", "Jazz Group Enlivens Downtown"
Crescent Times: "Park Hotel: Citing Councilman Davis"
Courier News: "Green backs closing city group home"
May 22
Plainfield Today: "Consider the 'Parkies' gone"
Park Hotel: "Plainfield official lobbying to close boarding facility"
-- Dan Damon

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