Mayor: Take Part in Census
Saying she believes an accurate 2010 Census count would turn up 52,000 residents, Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs made a presentation on the process the centerpiece of her monthly visit with seniors Tuesday.
The city's 2000 count was 47,829 residents, short of the 50,000 needed to receive federal funding directly for community purposes. The city now must submit Community Development Block Grant requests to Union County for an allocation of federal funds.
The mayor urged all to fill out a short 2010 Census survey that should arrive in the mail next month. Where no response is received, Census workers will visit an address in person up to five times to get the count. An accurate count has many ramifications for residents and officials have deemed reaching 50,000 or more as a prime goal for Plainfield.
Also visiting Tuesday was Peter Patel, who will open a C-Town supermarket soon on South Avenue in the former Drug Fair building. Seniors grilled Patel on his proposed hiring practices, asking whether he would hire seniors and African-Americans specifically. Patel said he expects to hire 60 full- and part-time employees and said hiring decisions will be made not on the color of a person's skin, but on character as a worker. City residents will receive preference.
Adjustments are still being made in the large new center as seniors conduct their activities. A card room is proving to be too cramped, so that activity may be swapped with a larger "media" room that has a large-screen television set and several couches. An employee who lost his private office in the transition will get it back. Currently, a stack of boxes labeled "Colin's Office" is all he has to work with. In addition, a thrift-shop space may be taken over by the Community Oriented Police, newly moved in from 305 East Front Street, and the shop will go in the smaller space which only has room for two police desks now instead of four.
The great tablecloth debate continued Tuesday. Seniors want something better than the flimsy plastic ones, but the pros and cons of vinyl vs. cloth have not led to an outcome yet. Plants were also requested to make the large meeting room more homey.
While the old center was on a street corner at East Front & Roosevelt, the new center is in the middle of a very long block between Roosevelt Avenue and Richmond Street. Seniors have found it hard to cross East Front Street to get to the center. The mayor pointed out a bright new sign and a crosswalk marked out in chalk that will soon provide extra safety for pedestrians.
Another senior wish, outdoor space for cookouts, will come true now that the city has purchased an adjacent lot that will also be used for extra parking, the mayor said before concluding her visit.