Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Addendum to Demolition Story

New director of Public Works & Urban Development David Brown II told the City Council Monday that the cost of the North Avenue demolition could be as much as $200,000.

Councilman Adrian Mapp pointed out that although the resolution states that amount, the agenda item's wording is "in excess of $21,ooo."

"The public needs to know how much it is costing," Mapp said.

(At agenda-fixing sessions, members of the public can take a printed agenda to follow along with the council's considerations, but the actual resolutions and ordinances are contained in one large binder that is set out for public viewing. A copy of the agenda and the background material is also supposed to be on file at the reference desk of the Plainfield Public Library by Saturday morning preceding the Monday meeting. The binder is also available for viewing in the City Clerk's office on the day of an agenda-fixing session. Plaintalker customarily checks the resolutions and ordinances, as the agenda items are just summaries.)

City Administrator Bibi Taylor said it was a "three-part resolution," first to declare an emergency, then to award a contract and last to make an emergency appropriation for FY 2011.

The work was done by Oveter's Construction Co. of Plainfield and East Orange.

Councilman William Reid asked if anyone else was contacted and Taylor said due to the emergency, there was no time for quotes.

In a previous emergency demolition on North Avenue several years ago, Oliver Brown of Oveter's and a representative of Mazzocchi Wrecking looked at the site before Brown's company got the job. That building, at the corner of Gavett Place and North Avenue, was owned by the city, but deteriorated in a similar fashion to the one at 187 North Avenue that was privately owned.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No time for quotes? Was anything more than the parapet falling? Which structural engineers examined the building and declared it in imminent danger of collapse, so much so that 24 hours would have made a difference?

If I were the building owner, when stuck with the bill, I would sue on the basis of inadequate cause for demolition. Perhaps the city will then need further resolutions to make emergency appropriations for legal fees. Yippee! Yet another bonus for the well connected.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CORRECTION: I think it is DOUBLE time.

We need to make sure we have enough $$ to pay all the Police and Fire staff to march in the July 4th parade at time and a half, NOT the fixing of eye sores around town. Don't you understand the priorities ?


6:17 PM  
Blogger Jackie said...

What bothered me the most about the demolition was the fact that a once beautiful historic building was allowed to deteriorate for so many years, then there was the rush to demolish it with no consideration of the costs for us.

I've been taking photos of that building for about seven years. The roof and back corner of the building have been crumbling for that amount of time. Sure, some bricks actually fell off the FRONT putting the city into a tizzy over it.

Yet the back of the building and its deterioration was never hidden from the public eye. You could see it from Watchung Avenue and Gavett Place. I could see it; why couldn't city officials?

For at least the seven years I've observed the building, the situation has been handled poorly by city officials. The decision for the demolition was rushed when something should have been done years back. I guess I can only hope that this poorly handled demolition historical and economic disaster might serve as a lesson down the road.

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you have any idea what the step-by-step chain of authority and decision-making is, and who the players are, involved in okaying this demolition? It would be interesting to shine a light on EXACTLY how this quick decision was made.


8:10 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

When I commented on this issue to a city official at the Visioning Study I was told the owner could not be reached no matter how much they tried. I asked if the taxes paid up on the building, and the answer was yes.
So then I asked how come if we have a foreclosed property that has been abandoned we, as a city, mow the lawn and put a lien on the property yet watch a building slowly collapse for 7+ years ( the number of years I witnessed it )? The response was you can't make someone pay for that. I responded that I was horrified to think that our city considers and unmowed lawn an eye sore to the community but a building with a missing roof does not demand attention. We could have fixed the roof YEARS ago ( into YES, McWilliams administration as well, not just the hot mess SRB's )and possibly saved the building. AND THEN BILLED THEM ON THE TAXES THAT WERE PAID IN FULL.
- And so it's official: I am ALL FOR VERY LITTLE GOVERNMENT involvement in most of our daily lives. This is a classic example of what government is made for. This building and the Connelley messes ( which, are they solved???) plus the many other blatant examples around the city are what we have government for. AND AND AND !!!! When done properly the city could actually MAKE MONEY !!!! Long post, too early...The members of city government for the last 10 years should all receive a bill for the demolition of this building and have to cough it up to US the taxpayers. THEY OWE US MONEY FOR THIS. This is a direct result of their inaction. Just like the Connelley buildings.

4:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You declare that you are for less government, yet you criticize them for not acting on Connelly, which is a private, for profit corporation. How do you reconcile these two contradictory ideas?

12:12 PM  
Anonymous pat ballard fox said...

What is so sad about this story is the fact that about 10 years ago under the McWilliams administration we were working with a very accomplished developer specializing in downtown renovations who was interested in all of the historic North Ave block, including this building. Unfortunately, a very vocal City Councilmn at that time spoke out against their proposal because they were not a minority firm.As well there was no interest on the Council to spend the funds necessary to negotiate the agreement so the multi-million dollar deal died. This building would have been saved had the development been approved.It was proposed in the height of redevelopment interest in urban downtowns. It would have been part of a thriving transit village due to its proximity to the wonderfully restored NJT train station and its the historic facade would have been maintained. Another lost opportunity for Plainfield.

Pat Ballard Fox

12:09 PM  

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