Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Mayor: Take Part in Census

Image: Jeanette Crawford knits a shawl at senior center.

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.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

C-Town - the champaign of ghetto stores. All I want to know is if Plainfielders embrace being second class. If they do, that's fine, it's just that I have higher standards, and need to know where this city intends to go moving forward.

If not, what is the problem????

10:29 AM  
Blogger active citizen said...

I'm glad a market is coming to Plainfield, but C-town is the most expensive place I've ever seen to shop. Of course, the only one I've ever seen in NJ is in Jersey City. I hope they keep prices in mind at their store.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We may as well put out a big sign " Welcome to the ghetto". .. This is economic development?

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Sobae said...

My goodness: so much hate for a store! Unfortunately, if that's the prevailing attitude among suburbanites (decoded: whites) then having a C-Town as an entry for the whiter, eastern neighbors will be an invitation to snark. But so be it.

What I'm more concerned about is the long term viability of the store. The Fanwood A & P is about 60 seconds by car to the east. Rest assured that just about zero Fanwoodians will cross over to the C-Town, and those Plainfielders who now shop A & P will probably keep doing so. 30 seconds to the west is the Times Farmers' Market, whose products and clientele are the embodiment of diversity, with the business to prove it. Can't see many switching from there, either.

C-town will be located about one third down a long block, in walking distance of very few housing units, next to an ever shrinking Blockbuster (who recently announced the closing of 1,000 stores) and a failed "all-you-can-eat" restaurant. So who, exactly, will the clientele be? I can only guess that Mr Patel believes that new housing units will be built across the street and down the block on the GO Keller site, as has been suggested by developers and city boosters. But if they are as upscale as is hoped, will the residents choose to walk to C-Town or drive to Trader Joes? Time will tell, but I'm glad I didn't sign the lease.

1:41 PM  

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