Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Senior Center Event

Operating with a temporary certificate of occupancy, the new senior center was opened Wednesday for a pre-primary celebration. Occupancy will occur later this year. The developer had already missed three stated deadlines, but with the re-election of Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs on the line, organizers pulled out all stops for a spectacular event with celebrants packing the main room of the new center.

In the foreground here, marchers from the old center include Senior Center Director Sharron Brown, the mayor, former City Councilman and present Union County Freeholder Rayland Van Blake and 22nd District Assemblyman Jerry Green.

Celebrity reporter Mark Spivey wards off the paparazzi as he tries not to become part of the story.
Developer Glen Fishman appears pensive. So far, eight condos of 63 on the upper three floors have been sold, he said. Fishman received title to the site from the city for $1, but said Wednesday he invested about $2 million in the center. Seniors made all their wishes for the center known through a building committee that met over many years. Several plans for a new center were considered and discarded. Plaintalker did not stick around for a tour, but the center does have many specialized rooms for sewing, billiards, computers and many other activities.
Public Safety Director/Police Director Martin Hellwig cuts a dashing figure as he attends along with many other City Hall staffers.
Red balloons mark the mayor's favorite color and many seniors wear red for the big event that featured prayers, songs, speeches and recognitions, especially for the building committee. Seniors gave sincere wishes for the speedy recovery of committee president Charles Nelson, who is recovering from health issues and could not attend.
The crowd acknowledged the efforts of Jayson Williams to help create a new senior center and applauded the presence of his father, E.J. Williams and representative Akhtar Farzaie.
With Glen Fishman looking on, the mayor led a round of applause for the celebration.
Green and Robinson-Briggs are on the June 2 primary ballot. There are five other Democrats challenging the mayor, who is seeking a second term.
Fishman later acknowledged that terms of an agreement among the city, Dornoch Plainfield LLC and the Union County Improvement Authority have not materially changed. Among the terms: Closings on condos may not occur until issuance of of a certificate of occupancy for the senior center. The Veterans' Center space is currently being used as the sales model for the condos, but as stated Wednesday there will be an interim space made available. Once the senior center takes occupancy, the city must pay a condo fee of 13 percent or more for overall costs.
While not quite a pig in a poke, the senior center proposal is not exactly the unalloyed success that politicians would have us believe. How much longer must the city pay for the quarters at 305 East Front Street and at what rate? We need some hard, cold facts on this situation. Some might also ask what was the billable hours' total for city staffers to be away from City Hall for the event?

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are very anti Plainfield and never have anything good to say if you are not happy here in Plainfield why don't you just leave.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the color red part of Briggs' election theme? Not so subliminal.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernice, I thought the celebration was very nice. Charles Nelson is a friend of mine and I am praying for him. One thing I would say is that I thought it was pretty classless for the mayor not to have acknowledged Councilman Mapp, who was the only council member at the event aside from Council President Burney. When Burney got up to speak, he had 2 opportunities to acknowledge Mapp and he didn't do so. At first I thought it was an oversight, but twice made it deliberate. Even Linda Stender, who didn't come to Plainfield when our hospital was in jeopardy and who continues to avoide questions about it, was acknowledged, along with an aide sent by Rep. Pallone. This was quite unbecoming for Mr. Burney to do, as Adrian Mapp is his council colleague. Yesterday was a day to put aside politics but their failure to do so was petty. I am a proud member of the senior center.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, this was a celebration of a senior center that is not going to open? Sounds like politics to me.

And, as 8:40am, I would rather you leave Plainfield. You seem to think that the opening of the center was wonderful. Perhpas you should think things through. It doesn't bother you that the city has to pay 13% per year for costs. Where do you think the money is going to come from? You, my friend, through your taxes. Perhaps you will have to leave Plainfield becasue taxes will be so high, you can't afford to live here.

And Bernice, don't you dare leave Plainfield. And yes, that is an absolutely selfish remark.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the early post is right on Bernice. You have taken on a very negative streak - consistent and mirroring Dan Damon.

It is sad. Look back at your blogs this year and compare them to what a true reporter like Mark Spivey has written.

You have allowed your emotions to interfere with your writings.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was there. I did not see Councilman Mapp there. I did see Candidate Mapp there, surrounded by his honchos all wearing "Elect Mapp" buttons. Maybe that is what everyone else saw.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mapp got himself into hot soup - by not knowing what he was saying.

You see, he was trying to show everyone that he is always mad at the administration.

First he blamed the city for not filling out the COPS grant. Good - he found something to get mad about.

Too bad you were not able to stay mad about the COP grant - as a Police captain proved him wrong. Oh noooo...

But then, fortunately it appears he were able to get mad about something else - no council approval.

But wait, Old Doc then told him that in fact Council had provided explicit permission to apply. So now OH noooo...Mapp missed the Council meeting and did not know what was going on.

Oh nooooo...Mr. Mapp....Oh noooo.....! He has nothing to get mad about. He qucikly need to find something else to get mad about. Oh noooooo!

11:43 PM  

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