Creating a Community Code of Excellence

take_surveyResidents, 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, the survey results will then be forwarded to school district.

Take the Survey Now!

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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 aneil@thecitizenscampaign.org 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 aneil@thecitizenscampaign.org

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#ArtHappensHere

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 ordinance.photo 4
#Art Happens Here

 

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Get the Word Out in Perth Amboy

On Tuesday, June 17 at 6 pm, The Citizens Campaign is hosting a free workshop on how to get the word out and make an impact in Perth Amboy on issues you care about. RSVP HERE.

Learn the basics of citizen journalism and find out about free tools available to anyone interested in promoting what is happening in your community.  The workshop will cover how to write an article, letter to the editor, the use of social media, and other ways you can effectively reach your community.

The “How to Get the Word Out Workshop” is part of the ongoing Impact Perth Amboy, an initiative of The Citizens Campaign to develop a network of citizen problem-solvers who are committed to making a difference in the City on matters concerning the arts, economic development, education, the environment and more.

The “How to How to Get the Word Out Workshop” will be held on Tuesday, June 17 at 6:00 pm at Middlesex County College Perth Amboy Center at 60 Washington Street. This is a free public event. Perth Amboy residents, nonprofit leaders, and small business owners are encouraged to attend. RSVP HERE.

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Impact Perth Amboy Gathering Discusses Development & Environmental Priorities

photo 1Members of Impact Perth Amboy, a citizen leadership program facilitated by The Citizens Campaign, gathered at their monthly meeting to hear reports from the group’s task forces.

The force leaders told of significant progress on developing doable solutions to help the city in the areas of education, the environment and the arts.  But the main focus of the evening was on waterfront development and storm resiliency.

Shaneil StokesShaneil Stokes of Lewis Street shared his draft on prospective redevelopment properties along the waterfront, including both the Raritan River and the Arthur Kill. He reviewed new state financial sources for incentivizing development. A related draft proposal for waterfront amendments to Perth Amboy’s Master Plan and development regulations prepared by The Citizens Campaign’s Law & Policy Task Force was also provided.

Mr. Stokes report is designed to be a quick reference for potential developers to find each waterfront property’s ownership, size, environmental clean-up status, city agencies which can facilitate redevelopment and other useful information.

Harry Pozycki, Perth Amboy resident and Chair of The Citizens Campaign, reviewed the proposal for storm resiliency amendments to the City Master Plan and to development regulations for waterfront properties. He suggested that the cities that have prepared for storm resiliency in their Master Plan and zoning requirements are likely to be first in line for storm resiliency infrastructure funds from the federal and state government.

Pozycki also explained that developers will be more inclined to invest in Perth Amboy’s waterfront if they know that infrastructure is planned to prevent adverse storm impacts to the properties they are interested in.

Andrew VorosBut, the bombshell of the evening came when guest speaker and former Columbia University research scientist, Andrew Voros informed the citizens of a serious and looming threat to Perth Amboy’s economic development prospects posed by the imminent remediation of the former American Cyanamid Landfill in Carteret on the Rahway River could result in cyanide, petroleum and other toxins being discharged into the Arthur Kill and Raritan Bay.

The project known as “Rahway Arch,” plans to seal 2 million tons of cyanide-contaminated sludge along the Rahway River with a 29 foot high pile of contaminated dirt, which the contractor disposes of for a profit.

Rahway Arch happens to also be in the heart of the area that was hit hard during Sandy, resulting in major flooding throughout the region. When the next major storm hits, it could easily open the floodgates for this contaminated sludge to seep into the same areas, and down the Arthur Kill into Raritan Bay, along Perth Amboy’s waterfront.

Several New Jersey organizations already banded together to fight this deal. NY/NJ Baykeeper and Delaware Riverkeeper have actions before federal or state courts regarding Soil Safe, the ironically named company seeking to do the project.

NY/NJ Baykeeper has filed an appeal of the permit issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection until a flood impact study has been completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The Rahway River Storm Water Advisory Board has also expressed serious concerns that filling the 90 acre floodplain will increase upriver flooding.

Despite engineering reports warning of the potential collapse of the site during a storm, the project has moved to approval and can begin soon if nothing is done to stop it.

Already New Jersey Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. and US Senator Charles Schumer of New York have called for a halt to the project until a more thorough study can be completed.

The citizens were shocked by this threat to their efforts to incentivize environmentally sound redevelopment of the city’s waterfront and determined to bring the city government to full awareness of this apparently serious threat.

Soil Safe says they are in full compliance with state and federal laws, their full statement can be read at CarteretClean.com.

For more information read:

In Plan to Dump Contaminated Soil, Classic New Jersey Politics Emerge.” New York Times, By Michael Powell, February 14, 2014.

Rahway Cleanup Company Not EPA-approved despite claims.” News 12 New Jersey, Kane in Your Corner, March 18, 2014.

Staten Island Officials Request EPA investigation of Rahway Arch.” Home News Tribune, By Bob Makin, March 20, 2014.

Contaminated soil recycling project in New Jersey concerns Staten Island officials.” Staten Island Advance, By Michael Sedon, March 19,  2014.

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