Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hope dares raise its head at 4th Ward Town Hall

Plainfield's diversity is one of its strengths.

Last night's Plainfield City Council Town Hall meeting at the Jefferson School was worlds apart in tone from the previous three, showing concerned residents engaged in the political process and looking forward with hope to a new day for Plainfield come January 1, 2014.

(First, though, let me get a perennial beef off my chest. The former National Starch headquarters building, which now houses the Jefferson and PAAAS schools, was paying in the neighborhood of $400,000 per year in taxes when it was commandeered by the Schools Development Authority and summarily removed from the tax rolls. It was to be used temporarily as a 'swing' school for the relocation of various elementary schools while construction took them offline. According to a memorandum of understanding between the SDA and the City, the National Starch site was then to be relinquished, to return once again to the tax rolls. Mayor Robinson-Briggs has not uttered one word in her tenure about returning the property. I don't begrudge our youngsters a decent building, but isn't a deal a deal?)

While the other Town Halls were primarily concerned with kvetches over constant neighborhood issues: speeding, police presence, drugs and other illegal activity, vacant and unsightly properties, street lights, and various Public Works issues, last night's was quite different in tone.

Which shows the difference a few weeks can make, as the 4th Ward meeting was the only one of the four to be scheduled for after the June primary election.

While there were complaints (a hole in the fence around the school which a neighbor says the District has made no moves to correct, loud parties and drinking, abandoned buildings that need to come down, drugs and illegal activities and a lack of police presence), there were also upbeat discussions of ideas for improving Plainfield.

The audience listened attentively and at several points, various audience members added reinforcement and encouragement to the ideas of the speakers. Sometimes, the conversation became between audience members, causing Council President Bridget Rivers at one point to remind everyone to address the Council and save the sidebars for later.

Which, indeed, is what attendees did.

Several people alluded to their hopes that a new administration in January will mean more attention to their issues and to some of the positive ideas being presented.

When, however, one of the members of the Youth Organization for Unity congratulated 'Mayor Mapp' on his victory, Councilor Cory Storch reminded the audience that while Mapp had won the Democratic primary, he still faces three opponents in the November election, and only after that election can we speak with assurance of who will be the next mayor.

As I drove down West Front Street toward downtown after leaving the meeting, I chanced upon Olive Lynch bringing her horses back from an evening outing to be bedded down for the night.

Hope is daring to raise its head once again in Plainfield!

-- Dan Damon [follow]

View today's CLIPS here. Not getting your own CLIPS email daily? Click here to subscribe.


Pat Turner Kavanaugh said...

OK, Dan, there is NO ONE reading your blog who does not know you root for Adrian...some substance from last night's meeting would have done us more good than more dump-on-Sharon, high-on-Adrian, or, perhaps you could have done both

Richard Goldenberg said...

Dan, I believe the US flag was improperly displayed in the array of flags. In the photo, there appears to be a flag to its left which is incorrect. My understanding is the U.S. flag must always be in the position of honor: to its right, or the extreme left as observed.

Do you know what country the flag in question represents? Or, is it a pennant of some kind?