IMG_6397Perth Amboy resident Greg Bender wrote a blog post for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to share all our accomplishments.

Check it out here:



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Help for Willow Pond?

Submitted a Perth Amboy resident.

Ask any resident of Perth Amboy for directions to Willow Pond, and the likely response will be a blank stare. Tucked away behind a strip of fast food outlets, convenience stores, and ball fields, Willow Pond remains a well-kept secret—a quiet urban oasis, known only to a lucky few.

perth amboy pond 1

perth amboy pond 2perth amboy pond 3




Still, the pond could get a bit more attention soon, because its long-term survival might be at stake. Saved by activists from development in the 1980s, then cleaned of debris and used as an outdoor ecology classroom by Perth Amboy students, the pond was once a healthy freshwater wetland—a stopover for migrating birds and home to several species of freshwater fish. But after several years without proper maintenance, the pond’s waters are lifeless and its shoreline is now choked with vegetation (see above photos).

perth amboy pond 4One big culprit at Willow Pond is a tall reed named phragmites. The plant is a hardy grass that often grows nine feet tall or more. It has aggressively taken over the shores of Willow Pond, forming a dense mat of vegetation that crowds out most other plants and obscures the view of the pond. As the reeds die in ponds such as this, the huge mass of decaying plant matter in the pond feeds the growth of bacteria, which use up the pond’s supply of dissolved oxygen. Eventually, the oxygen-poor environment can no longer support fish—or even the bacteria that created it. Left on its own, the pond will continue to infill with growing phragmites, sediment, and dead plant matter.

perth amboy pond 5Several members of Perth Amboy’s “Green Team” visited Willow Pond recently to observe the pond’s condition. Some members of the Perth Amboy community are already having  conversation with various stakeholders that will hopefully lead to action to rehabilitate the pond, Perth Amboy’s only freshwater ecosystem.  Returning the pond to a healthy state would also make it available again as an outdoor classroom.

The first step is to raise money to begin work on the pond. It will take an estimated $5,000 to have the phragmites cleared from much of the pond’s shoreline, and to have the pond’s aerators fixed so that higher levels of oxygen can return to the pond’s waters, making Willow Pond a suitable habitat for fish onc  e more.  With time—and a lot of hard work—this hidden gem in Perth Amboy could thrive again.


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Creating a Community Code of Excellence – Deadline Postponed


UPDATE: Survey responses due Friday, September 5

Residents, teachers, business owners and others who live or work in Perth Amboy are encouraged to complete the Community Code of Excellence Survey to provide feedback on how the district should handle certain student misbehaviors in school. The goal is to set a community standard for dealing with the most common in-school misbehaviors such as bringing a cell phone on school property, not wearing the school uniform, or getting into an altercation with another student. The School District is currently reviewing its Code of Student Conduct. Survey responses will be collected until August 29 September 5, the survey results will then be forwarded to school district.

Take the Survey Now!


Surveys are available at designated locations throughout the city, including the Raritan Bay Area YMCA, JR Medical Center, Alexander F. Janowski Community Center, Catholic Charities, the City’s Recreation Department on Olive Street, Perth Amboy Public Library/Brighton Ave Community Center and the Puerto Rican Assoc for Human Development of 100 First Street. 

Catholic Charities

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Impacting Arts & Economic Development

photo 9By Greg Bender

At the Bay City General Stakeholder Summer Meeting at the Perth Amboy ZPA Hall on 7/31/2014, I gave an update on the recent accomplishments of the Perth Amboy Creative Team.  The team is an advisory board of citizens interested in promoting the advancement of the Arts in Perth Amboy, and it has been working hard over the past several months to put in place the foundation for developing a thriving Arts community in the city. The team has worked hard and, under the guidance of Leo Vazquez, from the National Consortium for Creative Placemaking, it has put together a series of valuable accomplishments:

  • The team established Taskforces for initiatives in Music, Murals, Communications and Arts Ordinances and will be establishing another to study the creation of a Perth Amboy Arts District.
  • The team developed an Arts Council Ordinance which was unanimously adopted by the Perth Amboy City Council on June 25th. Appointments to the council are expected in August.
  • The team’s Murals taskforce has developed a Murals Ordinance draft which will be submitted to the City Council when it is complete. The Ordinance sets the requirements for proposing and getting approval for murals on both public and private property; it includes a process for community engagement and review, producing mural drawings and getting property owner approvals.  Final approval of the proposals would be by the City Council.
  • The team conducted a Creative Placemaking study which identified locations in Perth Amboy where arts activities were currently being worked, locations where their were opportunities for expanded arts activities and locations suitable for outdoor art.  A public presentation of the final report is planned for the fall.  The Creative Placemaking Mapping plan is expected to be a valuable tool for economic development, zoning and the establishment of an Arts District.

The team’s activities, in addition to walking and surveying the City for the Creative Placemaking exercise, included comparing similar initiatives in Rahway, Bound Brook, Metuchen and Carteret.  The past mayor of Rahway, James Kennedy, spoke to the team about the close relationship between the Arts and economic development and provided examples of his experiences in Rahway. People interested in the Arts, including Music, Dance, Visual Arts and Theater Arts, as well as people who are interested helping to build a thriving arts community in Perth Amboy, are invited and encouraged to join the team, come to our meetings and help whatever taskforce you are interested in.

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Impacting Perth Amboy’s Environment

By BettyBettyCrews_cropped Crews

The Green Team is working together to get the City of Perth Amboy Sustainable Jersey certified, a certification program for municipalities that want to go green, save money and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term.

Update on the Perth Amboy Green Teams progress

A resolution was passed by the City Council supporting the participation & establishment of a Green Team for the Sustainable Jersey Certification Program

We are currently working on action items that will help get us either a bronze or silver certification.  In June of this year we submitted  many of the eligible action items that the City is already doing such as Brownfields Inventory & Prioritization, Solar Panels installed on municipal buildings, Community Gardens, Recycling Programs, Health & Fitness and Medical Prescription Drop Box just to name a few.   Updates for all of the Action Items have to be submitted to Sustainable Jersey by September, 2014.  The City has also received a $9000.00 grant to install a fitness trail along the waterfront on Sadowski Parkway.

We hold monthly meetings, and we invite you to come to our meetings to check out what we are doing.

Looking beyond, the Green Team would like to establish a Tree Fund and also get more community leaders involved to accomplish these things.

Email to receive information on upcoming initiatives and meetings in Perth Amboy.

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Perth Amboy Appoints Green Team Members

We are thrilled to announce that several residents and members of The Citizens Campaign’s Impact Perth Amboy initiative have been appointed to the newly created Perth Amboy Green Team!

The Perth Amboy Green Team is a volunteer committee of community problem-solvers who are dedicated to making a positive impact on the City’s environment and to help ensure an improved quality of life for all residents. This new committee and its volunteer membership is a direct result of Impact Perth Amboy’s initiative to foster a higher level of civic leadership and community engagement. Our environmental subcommittee of city stakeholders researched evidence-based solutions for keeping the city and its waterways clean and safe.  The committee identified establishing a Green Team as a good first step to facilitate residents and City officials working together on improving the environment.

Several residents and volunteers from various nonprofits have already begun working with the City of Perth Amboy’s administration and elected representatives on action steps to certify the City for the Sustainable Jersey program. And Perth Amboy is now able to apply for much needed grant money reserved for cities enrolled in the Sustainable Jersey program, such as their most recent grant for $9,000 to add exercise equipment along the waterfront area.

Congratulations to the inaugural Green Team members: Laticia Hicks; William Kurzenberger; William Schultz; Betty Crews; Aneil Mohammed; Rosemary Nivar; Renee Skelton; Daniel Harning, Jr.; Steve Nascimento; Joel Reyes; Caroline Pozycki and Olive Bryan.

You too can be a part of The Citizens Campaign’s team of Perth Amboy problem-solvers! Come to our next Impact Perth Amboy stakeholder meeting where we discuss the important community issues in education, environment and Arts & Economic Development. We will be meeting on Thursday, July 31.  CLICK HERE TO RSVP or call/e-mail Aneil Mohammed at 732-548-9798 ext.3 or

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PerthAmboyArtsUPDATED 6/30: The City Council unanimously approved an ordinance on Wednesday, June 25 to  establish an Arts Council dedicated to promoting arts and culture in the City of Perth Amboy.

Thank you to everyone who came out in support of this monumental 4
#Art Happens Here


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