Delivered to 15,000 Plainfield "doorsteps" Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Service for 3-year-old accident victim Monday at Crescent Avenue

A service for Elizabeth, the 3-year-old accident victim
is scheduled for 6:00 PM Monday.
(Image from GoFundMe site

A service is planned for Elizabeth, the 3-year-old killed in a traffic accident at Park Avenue and West 2nd Street on Wednesday.

The service will be at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church at 6:00 PM on Monday (August 1), according to an email received on Saturday evening from the Rev. Lynn Santulli, the church's pastor.

The child's aunt, Laura Cuahec, has established a GoFundMe site for donations to cover funeral expenses. See the site, view donor names and make a contribution here. As of Sunday morning, 92 people have donated.

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church is at East 7th Street and Watchung Avenue. Parking in the church lot on First Place, on the street, or in the Swain Galleries lot. The church is an accessible facility.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Plainfield Public Library will be closed next week

Our large modern building replaced a Carnegie Library
(shown here in the 1920s). But even modern buildings need maintenance.

An email received this morning from the Plainfield Public Library's Local History Department advises that the Library will be closed for building maintenance from August 1 through August 7 and will reopen to the public on August 8.

If there is anything you need to take care of at the Library best do it today or tomorrow.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Online fund started for 3-year-old's funeral

3-year-old Elizabeth died Wednesday after being struck
while crossing Park Avenue with her mother.

A memorial has sprung up in front of PNC Bank,
where the accident occurred.
Elizabeth, the 3-year-old Plainfield girl who died after being struck crossing Park Avenue with her mother on Wednesday, will be buried with an appropriate funeral -- if people chip in to help out. (As of Sunday morning, 92 people have donated.)

The Courier reports today (see here) that an online funeral fund has been established for provide for the toddler's funeral expenses.

Her mother, who was hospitalized after also being struck, was released from the hospital yesterday. Police have not yet released the names of the victims or of the male driver of the car that struck them.

The images above are from a memorial that has sprung up in front of the PNC bank where the accident happened. Flowers and votive candles were seen Thursday evening as a crowd gathered at the site. The poster on which Elizabeth's photo is mounted is covered with condolences from passersby.

Please consider making a donation to the GoFundMe page for Elizabeth, which is here. The page was started by Elizabeth's aunt, and you can read more information about the family there.

Thank you.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

National Night Out next Tuesday

If my calculations are correct, Plainfield will mark its 30th annual observation of National Nigh Out next Tuesday (August 2) with a community-wide event at City Hall.

As in past years, Mayor Mapp and other city officials will motorcade through the city to make stops at neighborhood observances, ending in front of City Hall at 6:30 PM for the citywide celebration.

Begun in 1986 by former First Ward Councilor Liz Urquhart, the annual observance provides an opportunity for residents and public safety personnel (police, fire and EMS) to meet and mingle.

Having a good time at a National Night Out celebration.

This year will add a car show in the City Hall parking lot. Community organizations are free to set up information tables. Activities are provided for children. Firefighters serve hot dogs and popcorn. And Mayor Mapp recognizes the contributions of residents and employees to reducing crime and making Plainfield the safe and pleasant place it is to live, work and shop in.

National Night Out gets under way at 6:30 PM, Tuesday, August 2, at Plainfield City Hall.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Plainfield audit steadily improves under Mapp

Plainfield gets closer to the bulls-eye.

Plainfield's CY2015 audit became available yesterday (look for it online here shortly), and the good news is that the city's fiscal practices continue to improve under Mayor Adrian O. Mapp.

The comments and recommendations section of the CY2013 audit (Mayor Robinson-Briggs' final year) was five pages long, with 34 findings of failure to maintain proper records or procedures, all of which needed to be corrected. Nine of those items were repeats from previous years.

Upon taking office in 2014, Mapp vowed to fix all that. With his background in municipal finance and the recruitment of a strong CFO, things have come a long way in two fiscal cycles.

The 2015 audit has only seven recommendations. Four of these concern purchasing practices, which have been perennially troubled.

For the most part, they seem to indicate some sloppiness about details such as getting Business Registration Certificates for all vendors and providing notices of award for all purchases made under State Contract. Making sure that purchases exceeding the bid threshold ($17,500) are all approved by the City Council is a more serious -- and longstanding -- issue.

In other departments, there is still a failure -- somewhere along the line -- to deposit funds within 48 hours of receipt. Recreation, where the practice had been endemic, cleaned up its act as soon as Veronica Taylor became Superintendent (Rec no longer handles cash at all), but laxness evidently continues elsewhere in the City.

A last item was to ensure that new employees are enrolled in the proper pension system in a timely manner.

Of the seven recommendations, only three were repeats from previous years.

Congratultions to Director Ron West and crew for this excellent progress.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Work under way at 'Stirred Not Shaken' watering hole

One mystery solved: The outer double doors have no locks.

As I wrote last week (see here),
Plainfield City Council "renewed" a liquor license by the name of Stirred Not Shaken at 226-32 Park Avenue. The name and the address, if not the license, are new.

Over the weekend I parked and tried to take a look into the vacant building.

What appears to be a bar is taking shape near the front.

Partitions seem to mark off separate sections
of a vary large space.

The new watering hole would be steps from the
downtown train station.

The space is very large -- it wouldn't be a bar alone -- and has been roughed out so that one can spot an entry area and what might be two or more separate dining areas to the rear. At the front right of the building is what appears to be a bar taking shape.

A new hangout for Plainfield Democrats coming?

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Taking the Windows 10 challenge?

Your new start screen will look something like this.

No Plainfield-themed post today. Reason? I installed Windows 10.

If, like me, you loved Windows 7 and loathed Windows 8, you only have until this Friday to upgrade to Windows 10 for FREE. After that, it's gonna cost you. So, I finally took the challenge.

The upgrade was painless, if tedious. It took just about 2 ½ hours, with the machine restarting several times. All your files will be just as you left them. The look and feel will be familiar.

One sad note: Solitaire seems to have disappeared, even though there were reports Microsoft would relent and leave it in as a free app.

Instructions on upgrading can be found here.

Tip: Unplug your printer and any other devices normally attached to your computer.

Theoretically, you could just start the process and come back later but I am from the bad old days that if anything could go wrong, it did. So I sat by the machine and read a few chapters of "Heaven's Ditch", the new book on the Erie Canal and the social and political history of Western New York in the early 19th century.

I'll be back in the saddle tomorrow.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Shakespeare in the Park Sunday

Photos from the 2015 production of "Romeo and Juliet".
Plenty of shade to view the play in comfort.
For the second year in a row, Plainfield residents and theater buffs can see a free abridged production of a Shakespeare classic -- this year "Twelfth Night".

Those who think of tragedy (Hamlet) or historical dramas (the Henry plays) may need to remind themselves that the Bard was a master of comedy also. Twelfth Night is a classic comedy of mistaken identity and is chock full of outrageous and memorable characters -- such as Malvolio, Sir Andrew Aquecheek and Sir Toby Belch.

These summer productions are by Next Stage Ensemble, the NJ Shakespeare Theater's summer touring company comprised of early career actors. With seasoned professionals offering individual attention, clear instruction, and thoughtful evaluation, you can see tomorrow's stage stars before they hit the big time.

The performance is free and starts at 2:00 PM Sunday (July 24) on the lawn adjacent to the Shakespeare Garden at Cedar Brook Park. Bring lawn chairs and snacks (no alcoholic beverages allowed in the park), and enjoy. Though it is expected to be hot and sunny, there is plenty of room to sit under the trees and get a glorious view.

Shakespeare in The Park is sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Tees from the GOP convention

Variations on a theme: Wall Off Trump
Among tee shirts spotted at the GOP convention.

I couldn't resist going "national" for a moment.

Hope Plainfield Today readers will enjoy checking out these 100 Tee shirts spotted at the Republican National Convention which ended last night with the longest acceptance speech ever.

These are from a New York Times story; you can view the complete collection here.

Next up: The Dems. Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia starts on Monday.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Services announced for Eric Watson

Eric Watson, Director of Public Works and Urban Development,
previously served as Executive Director of the
Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority.

The City of Plainfield released a schedule of services for Eric Watson, Director Public Works and Urban Development, who passed away suddenly on July 17. An obituary appears in today's Courier (see here).

Here are the scheduled arrangements --

Friday, July 22, 2016
Lying in Repose at City Hall 515 Watchung Avenue
Plainfield, NJ 07060
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Friday, July 22, 2016
Wake at Plainfield High School 950 Park Avenue
Plainfield, NJ 07060
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Tributes: 6:30 pm – Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
7:00 pm – Masonic Ritual Service

Saturday, July 23, 2016
Viewing at Plainfield High School 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Funeral Service – 11:00 am
There will be a repast in the Plainfield High School Cafeteria immediately following the service.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Services for Lillian McGowan, former Library Trustee, set for Friday

Plainfield Public Library Trustee Lillian McGowan (r.) with
Board President Anne Louise Davis and Library Director
Joe Da Rold at an event in the late 1990s.
(Photo courtesy Joe Da Rold.)

Services have been set for Lillian McGowan, who served two terms as a Trustee of the Plainfield Public Library after a distinguished 36-year career that ended when she retired as Head of Circulation in 1989.

The funeral will be held at Rose of Sharon Community Church, where Lillian was a member for more than 70 years. Viewing at Noon on Friday, followed by a service at 1:00 PM.

Rose of Sharon is at 825 West 7th Street. Parking on site. ROS is an accessible building.

Below is an obituary supplied by the family, which will run in tomorrow's newspapers --

LILLIAN VERA McGOWAN of Plainfield, NJ passed away peacefully in her home on Friday, July 15, 2016 at the age of 92.  Lillian, better known as “Puggy” to her close friends and family was born on May 21, 1924 in Harlem, NY and raised in New Brunswick, NJ.

Lillian graduated from New Brunswick High School in 1941 and during her high school years she was involved in different sports but excelled in basketball.  She began her professional career in 1953 with the Plainfield Public library where she worked for 36 years before retiring on July 31, 1989.

At the age of 18 she relocated to Plainfield and on July 13, 1942 she married the love of her life, Daniel “Danny” McGowan.  Eleven years after their marriage, Lillian and Danny purchased their first home on Spooner Avenue making them the first African American homeowners in that neighborhood.  During their 50+ years of marriage, Lillian and Danny were blessed to travel throughout the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the West Indies. And with each trip they would call the family together, pull out the movie projector to watch 8mm tapes for hours – yes 8mm tapes of their vacations. 

It was important to Lillian to make sure her children enjoyed their childhood so there were frequent visits to the Jersey shore and amusement parks like Coney Island and Palisades Park.  She was also adamant about introducing her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to the joys of reading, and they can attest that The Jungle Book and Where the Wild Things Are were two of the first books she read to them. And without a doubt she made sure that her great grandchildren had every Dr. Suess book ever written. Even as Lillian’s family grew family values and traditions remained.  Every year she would host either Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner where the day did not end without a game of charades.  And not to say our grandmother cheated, but somehow her team always seemed to win.  And the most exciting part of Christmas would be the gift from Gramma & Pop Pop because you knew it was going to be great. 

Lillian was extremely generous.  Whether it was assisting financially, or opening her home to help others get on their feet, she was always willing to help her immediate family and extended family in any way she could. 

As an avid lover of the theater Lillian was a member of the Crossroads Theater group in New Brunswick, NJ and one of her favorite pass times was taking in Broadway shows.  Puggy also loved crossword puzzles and at any given time you could find her at her kitchen table with the NY Times crossword puzzles – completing them with no real trouble at all, while enthusiastically watching whatever football was on.

Lillian was a member of the Rose of Sharon Community Church for over 70 years, originally under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Ovie Lattimore.  She served as a volunteer in the church office for many years and on the hospitality committee.  She was later appointed as a church Mother by her much loved Pastor Bishop LaVerne Ball.

Although frail in body, the woman we know as Ma, Gramma, GramGram, Aunt Puggy, Lillian and Mother McGowan kept her love for people, her humor and quick wit even to the end.

Left to cherish her memory are her brother William Patterson of New Brunswick, NJ, her sister Edith Collins of Plainfield, NJ, her daughter Carolyn Reese of Lawrenceville, GA, her son Robert McGowan (Virginia) of Plainfield, NJ, her two step-sons Daniel McGowan (Shirley) of Jersey City, NJ and Ronald McGowan (Maria) of Bayonne, NJ, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.  Lillian was preceded in death by her husband Danny McGowan and her sisters Marjorie Patterson and Flora Taylor.
I will always remember Lillian's good humor and dedication to the Library when I was an employee and she was a Trustee. My condolences to her family. She will be missed.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Stop sign flashers, skate park draw comments

The proposal is to convert a parking area at West 2nd Street
and Central Avenue into a skate park. The Madison Avenue
Playground occupies the other end of the block.

A sparsely attended special Plainfield City Council Monday evening saw public comment on only two points, and unanimously adopted all 26 resolutions and two ordinances on first reading.

It was a bare-bones evening on the dais side too, with Councilors Tracey Brown, Bridget Rivers Gloria Taylor not in attendance. Council President Cory Storch phoned in for the beginning of the meeting and arrived in person at 7:21 PM, which meant Councilor Rebecca Williams served as president pro-tem for about fifteen minutes.

Councilor Barry Goode served as chair pro-tem in the absence of Councilor Taylor.

Residents David Graves and Lamar Mackson were the only two to speak on resolutions on the agenda, and both commented on resolutions concerning a proposed skate park and LED flashers at the city's ten 4-way stop intersections.

Graves felt the proposed location of the skate park was dangerous and too small, saying there were larger locations that could be considered (though he did not specify any).

Mackson was excited about the prospect of a skate park, but said $15,000 was "insufficient" for construction. He evidently misunderstood the resolution, which provided $15,000 for DESIGN. Later in the meeting, Director of Administration and Finance Ron West responded that the total projected construction cost was estimated at $250,000, the funds to be drawn from the Open Space Fund council established last year.

On the matter of the LED flashers, Graves objected that they would be an annoyance as his home is right on one of the corners. Mackson, whose corner on Central Avenue has a blinking light, seemed skeptical that the flashers would make a difference, saying accidents at his corner often involve vehicles ending up on his front lawn.

In other business, Cassandra Corbett, Esq., was appointed as an additional municipal court judge to fill out the remaining term of Harold Fullilove, Jr. She was sworn in by Municipal Clerk 'AJ' Jalloh after the meeting was adjourned.

Council also unanimously approved the appointment of Nancy Jordan and Kelly Shaw to the newly revived Plainfield Youth Commission.

The Council will apparently schedule another double-header meeting for August.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, July 18, 2016

New downtown Dem watering hole on the horizon?

The former Courier-News building at 226 Park Avenue
faces into the North Avenue intersection.

Tonight's Plainfield City Council agenda contains an interesting item (R242-16), the "renewal" of a plenary consumption liquor license for an establishment known as "Stirred Not Shaken" at 226-32 Park Avenue.

Doesn't sound familiar?

The address is the former Courier-News building that faces into the North Avenue intersection. It was bought by developer Frank Cretella several years ago and though the building has been refurbished and apartments above rented, the ground floor space has sat vacant.

Recently, I noticed one of the black double doors ajar during the daytime, indicating some sort of activity was going on.

With the closing of the Netherwood Bar & Grill, Plainfield Democrats will be looking for a new watering hole.

Is this going to be it?

City Council meets in a special doubleheader tonight at 7:00 PM, combining both agenda and business sessions. At the Council Chambers / Courthouse, Watchung Avenue at East 4th Street.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

New charter school to open in Boys & Girls Club space

Cresthaven Academy signage on the
former Boys & Girls Club building.

Plainfield's newest charter school, Cresthaven Academy, is slated to open in September in the Boys & Girls Club space on West 7th Street.

The opening was approved by the NJ Department of Education this past week, according a report in TAP (see here). Initial approval of the charter was made in the fall of 2014, along with the College Achieve Charter School's application (College Achieve opened last September in the former Holy Family School building).

According to founder Steve Colson, Cresthaven will begin small, with 75 students in K-3, expanding every year until it reaches an expected enrollment of 300 in grades K - 8.

Colson, who lives in Warren, has been helpful in the past with the Uncion County TEAMS Charter School, located at Shiloh Baptist Church.

Although the insignia of the Boys & Girls Club is still on the building, all other signage has been removed and the glass doors have the new schools logo stenciled on them. The Boys & Girls Club website notes their new address as 145 Park Avenue (at the corner of East 2nd Street).

More information on Cresthaven Charter School is available on the school website here.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Is Hallmark killing communication?


A friend's mother passed away this week, necessitating a trip to the Hallmark store for a sympathy card.

Where I was greeted with the above signage. Uh-oh!

I have ranted before about how hard it is to find a simple sympathy card. One that leaves you plenty of room to write note of condolence.

This time, prodded by the "Grief Support" sign, I paid more attention to Hallmark's offerings.

There were about a hundred different cards, mostly in pastel hues, with images of balloons floating into the sky, pastel flowers, or hazy landscapes of paths in woods.

More than that, they seemed to be targeted: loss of mom, loss of husband, loss of sister, loss of pet, and so forth. A few display tags were marked with a small cross or Star of David -- to indicate the sentiments were religious -- but most were not so tagged.

Inside, the cards were filled with treacly "sentiments". Yuk!

I learned about writing condolence notes from my favorite aunt, Irene. My mother was not good at it; my father, like other men when I was growing up, looked down on such chores as "women's work".

But Aunt Irene made letter-writing of all kinds an art form.

When writing a condolence note, she thought both about the person who had passed and the person to whom she was sending the note. She talked about how she missed the deceased, mentioned some strength of character and shared a favorite story about them (often funny). She offered to help. And then she put it in the mail.

And immediately made a covered dish or a cake or pie to take to the grieving family.

Then I thought, "Maybe Hallmark knows something I don't."

Maybe we don't know how to handle this kind of communication any more in this day of texts and Tweets. Maybe we need those manufactured sentiments to fill the void we no longer have the skills for.

Maybe Hallmark is not killing communication; maybe it is simply acknowledging its demise.

While turning a profit, of course

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Saturday twofer: duCret show at Swain's, Decarcerate NJ

Ancestral Home' by Livi McNulla,
Winner of the 2016 Walter P. Swain Award.

Two activities of note in Plainfield
this Saturday --


As David Rutherford pointed out on his blog Monday (see here), members of Decarcerate NJ will be distributing copies of their newspaper, The NJ Decarcerator, this Saturday at Front Street and Park Avenue from 1:30 to 4:30 PM.

Decarcerate NJ throws a spotlight on the disproportionate number of persons of color who are jailed. Elsewhere, David has posted some revealing data on incarceration (see here), among which are vastly different rates of conviction and imprisonment for minor drug offenses between whites and people of color.

Contrast between marijuana use and arrests
underscores incarceration issue.

A petition to the Plainfield City Council on decarceration issues in Plainfield will also be circulated. For more about the petition, see here. The Decarcerate NJ blog is here.


The annual show of duCret Art School students' work at Swain Galleries will open on Saturday (July 16), with a reception from 5:00 to7:00 PM.

Selected works from the students' Spring Show will be on display and available for sale.

Works include oil and acrylic paintings, pen-and-ink, drawings, stained glass, ceramics, compter graphics, and multi-media projects.

This is always a fine opportunity to view the efforts of talented young people studying at NJ's only fully accredited private art school, as well as to acquire a piece by an artist whose fame is yet to come.

Swain Galleries is at Watchung Avenue and East 7th Street. Parking is available on site. The show will continue through August 26. For more about Swain's and hours of operation, visit their website here.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Plainfield paid sick time law takes effect Friday

The basic concept: One hour of earned sick leave for
every 30 hours worked.

Plainfield's new paid sick time law takes effect Friday, July 15.

The city has posted information online in both English nd Spanish explaining the law and its provisions (see here).

The information covers commonly asked questions about paid sick leave --

  • An overview of the law

  • Who is covered?

  • When can sick time be used?

  • For what purposes?

  • How much sick time can be earned and used each year?

  • Can sick time be carried over?

  • What if you already have paid sick time or time off?

  • What kind of notice must an employer be given?

  • What if an employer does not allow or punishes for using sick time?

The program is under the responsibility of the Health Division.

Questions and complaints may be addressed by calling (908) 753-3092 or visiting the city's website at

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Muhlenberg plan's Achilles Heel?

2013 Commemoration of Muhlenberg closing.
(l. to r.) Joan Van Pelt, Mother Carolyn Eklund, Dottie Gutenkauf.

Plainfield's Senior Center was packed Monday evening as residents turned out to hear from Mayor Adrian Mapp and Economic Development Director Carlos Sanchez an update on the status of the long-vacant Muhlenberg Hospital property.

In his opening remarks,  Mayor Mapp made the point that the City, in order to get anything at all to happen with the Muhlenberg site, needed to partner with JFK, which is the owner of the property.

He reiterated his opposition to JFK's original proposal for 600 apartment units in several mid-rise buildings, which was also strenuously objected to by neighboring homeowners.

Mapp touched on the process that brought the City to this point.

A five-member committee (Carlos Sanchez and Shep Brown from the Administration, Councilor Bridget Rivers, Planning Board chair Ron Scott Bey and resident Robin Bright) had worked with the City's consultants to refine an RFP and screen respondents. (A representative of JFK sat as a non-voting participant in the committee.)

The Mayor underscored that he was accepting the committee's recommendation, saying "I accept the recommendations of committees that I appoint".

Sanchez then took over, giving an overview of the redevelopment process from the beginning of the Mapp administration 30 months ago to date.

He noted that six responses to the RFP were vetted by the committee and the consultants.

Representatives of the consultant, Real Estate Solutions (RES), outlined the qualities a winning proposal would have to bring to the table, primarily experience with similar projects and the capacity to swing the deal financially. They noted that the developer would have to work out a deal with JFK to acquire the property.

Community Healthcare Associates (CHA) was named as having submitted the winning concept. Its proposal was explained by William Colgan, who walked the audience through the concept, which includes approximately 190,000 square feet for "medical services" and 149,000 square feet for "veterans housing or assisted living for seniors".

He noted that demolition of older parts of the hospital complex would be undertaken as, at 500,000 square feet, it was more than could be sustained.

The cost of the project is estimated to be $49M, which does not include the cost of acquiring the site from JFK.

Colgan noted that one of the City's requirements was that open space be created in the redevelopment, but also that more parking would be needed.

About two dozen residents rose to ask questions or make comments at the end of the presentation. These primarily fell into two groups: expressions of anxiety about the changes to the neighborhood because of the residential component (especially with reference to veterans) and concerns that JFK would limit the "medical services" that could be located on the site.

Committee member Robin Bright (who I surmise was the only dissenting vote) delivered a blistering critique, saying that the presenters avoided mentioning that JFK was insisting on a "non-compete" clause in the sale, which would tie the hands of the developers as to potential medical tenants for the refurbished site.

Mayor Mapp and Colgan said there was no such restriction, but Bright was adamant.

"Why not use condemnation [eminent domain]," she demanded, "we'll never get what we need because JFK will block it." To which the audience responded with applause.

Dr. Harold Yood, whose career was entwined with Muhlenberg, also was skeptical, saying that regardless, the project was "being held hostage by JFK". Colgan responded diplomatically that CHA and JFK had a "relationship of mutual respect".

Aside from worries that JFK would hamper or obstruct the project, thus proving its Achilles heel, several attendees expressed negative views about the prospect of veterans' housing that expressed their anxiety over the vagueness of exactly what kind of residential market would be considered.

It is too bad that the City and the developer could not be more specific, but it was made clear throughout the evening that this is a CONCEPT proposal, not a final PLAN.

That being said, the City and CHA will have a steep hill to climb to ease the minds of the neighbors. (Those of us with long memories will recall the turmoil around the building of the Kingdom Hall on Woodland Avenue, which was also fraught at the time, but which is not even remarked on any more.)

So now the negotiations between CHA and JFK begin.

And the rest of us wait.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Plainfield Now, new nonprofit to aid community, sets launch

Logo of Plainfield's newest nonprofit.

Plainfield Now, a new nonprofit to aid the community will launch with a cocktail reception on Wednesday, July 20, according to an invitation issued by Mayor Adrian O. Mapp.

The new organization, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit has the following mission --

  • Provide greater access to higher education through scholarships

  • Support training programs that prepare individuals for job opportunities

  • Provide short term assistance to families in crisis

  • Support organizations and institutions whose works are complimentary to the vision of Plainfield Now
The new nonprofit forms part of the outreach program Mayor Mapp outlined at Friday evening's Public Safety Forum at City Hall.

The kickoff cocktail reception will be held at Giovanna's, 1462 South Avenue, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM on July 20.

Tickets start at $75 per person. You can RSVP to John Stewart by email at Please respond by Monday, July 18

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Town Hall Monday on proposal for Muhlenberg Hospital property

Aerial view of Muhlenberg Hospital neighborhood.
(Google map from Plainfield Today archive.)

Almost eight years after its closing, Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp is inviting the community to a Town Hall Monday evening to hear a proposal for the redevelopment of the Muhlenberg Hospital property.

The meeting will take place at the Plainfield Senior Center, 400 East Front Street at 7:00 PM.

Residents have been vocal over the years in expressing their sentiments that some sort of healthcare-related use be found for the property.

They have also vehemently resisted proposals to turn the site into an apartment complex.

What will the proposed solution entail?

Come out and hear the presentation from Mayor Mapp and Carlos Sanchez, economic development director.

The Plainfield Senior Center is at 400 East Front Street. Some parking is available in the 2nd Street lot (mind not to park in residents' spaces). Otherwise, use the street. The Senior Center is an accessible building.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, July 8, 2016

A time for calm, collective action

Plainfielders are shocked and outraged by the police shootings of Black men in Baton Rouge and Minnesota.

We are also shocked by the ambush-style sniping incidents in Dallas overnight which took the lives of five police officers, with many others wounded  (see more here).

Plainfield has suffered its own rise in shootings recently. But they are not police shootings. Nor have they been directed toward our police officers.

Plainfield is not Baton Rouge or Minnesota. Plainfield is not Dallas.

But we need to come together and collectively sort out how to deal with gun violence in our community. You have an opportunity to do so tonight at Mayor Mapp's public safety rally.

City Hall steps. This evening. 7:00 PM.

Plainfield City Hall is at Watchung Avenue and East 6th Street. Parking in the lot at the rear.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Mayor Mapp hosts public safety rally Friday

Public Safety rally Friday at 7:00 PM.

Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp will host a public safety rally on the steps of City Hall Friday evening (July 8) at 7:00 PM.

Titled "Finding Solutions", Mayor Mapp and public safety officials will provide first-hand information on what is being done to ensure public safety, new initiatives that are being undertaken and how residents can get involved.

As Mapp wrote in a recent blog post (see here), guns and gun violence are the scourge of the 21st century, and no city is immune -- including Plainfield.

But that does not mean we have to live in fear. It does not mean there is nothing that residents can do.

Come out, hear the Mayor and his staff and find your place among those working for solutions!

City Hall steps. Friday evening. 7:00 PM.

Plainfield City Hall is at Watchung Avenue and East 6th Street. Parking in the lot at the rear.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Council sets summer double-header

Notice of Special Meeting published by
Municipal Clerk "AJ" Jalloh.

Plainfield City Council will replace its scheduled July 11 agenda-setting session and July 18 business meeting with a SPECIAL MEETING combining both on Monday, July 18 at 7:00 PM. (Note the time change.)

Plainfield City Council meets in the Council Chambers / Courthouse at Watchung Avenue and East 4th Street. Parking available on the street or in the lot across from the police station.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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