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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Young@ Art

PerthAmboyGalleryResidents and community members are invited to a new art exhibition featuring artwork by students from our Perth Amboy Public Schools.

The opening reception will be Thursday, May 15, 2014 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the Perth Amboy Gallery Center for the Arts.

 

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Perth Amboy Residents Invited to Help Build A More Sustainable Future

Residents participate in Perth Amboy's Tree Seedling Giveaway

Residents participate in Perth Amboy’s Tree Seedling Giveaway on May 3.

The Citizens Campaign invites Perth Amboy residents to apply for appointment to the new Perth Amboy Green Team to make a positive impact on the City’s environment and to help ensure an improved quality of life for all residents.

The Perth Amboy City Council adopted a resolution on February 12 to participate in Sustainable Jersey, a certification program for municipalities in New Jersey that want to go green, save money and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term.

The next step is to appoint the City’s first-ever Perth Amboy Green Team, a volunteer network of citizen problem-solvers. The Citizens Campaign is encouraging Perth Amboy residents to volunteer to serve and apply at the City Clerk’s office by May 21.

The Sustainable Jersey program offers a checklist of more than 150 action steps and best practices that use evidence-based best practice solutions to ensure responsible environmental planning and conservation, bolster the local economy & arts, promote diversity in government, and empower residents of the community to assist in making the City more sustainable.

“Sustainable Jersey’s program allows residents and City officials to constructively work together towards a mutual goal of ensuring improved quality of life for all of our residents,” said Harry Pozycki, a Perth Amboy resident and chairman of The Citizens Campaign, which facilitated the creation of the Green Team.

“Now that our City officials have taken the first step, it’s time for Perth Amboy residents to step up,” said Pozycki.

Several City residents and nonprofits have already begun working with the administration on action steps to certify the City for the Sustainable Jersey program. Last Saturday, the Mayor and City Council, in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, sponsored a free tree seedling giveaway to replace trees damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

For more information on Perth Amboy’s Green Team there will be a Perth Amboy Green Team meetup Monday, May 19 at 6 pm in City Hall, or contact City Green Team leader Andrew Toth at (732) 826-0290 x.4046 or Aneil Mohammed at The Citizens Campaign at (732) 548-9798 x.3.

The Citizens Campaign is a nonprofit non-partisan organization dedicated to fixing our democracy from the bottom up by training citizens in no-blame politics and evidence-based problem solving, while empowering citizens to change the political climate and become a new force for answering our hometowns, state and nation’s challenges.

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Building Successful Arts Districts

perth_amboy_artsYou are invited to a presentation on Tuesday, May 13 at 6pm at the Proprietary House by former Rahway Mayor Jim Kennedy who will talk about his experience building successful Arts Districts. The free event is organized by the Perth Amboy Creative Team, who are working on developing an arts plan for the city. This project is made possible by the City of Perth Amboy and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.  “Like” the newly created Perth Amboy Arts and Culture page on Facebook and follow updates on the arts planning project and how to get involved.

For more information contact Caroline Pozycki at 732-324-2180 ext. 111 or email caroline.pozycki@jrfnj.org

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