PATERSON, NJ – In a quiet 6th Ward neighborhood, the yard area behind School 25 on Trenton Avenue has become a “haven for illicit activity,’’ according to Councilman Andre Sayegh.
The cluster of trees between the school and the ball field provides cover for drug transactions and sexual activity, the councilman said. A driveway from Michigan Avenue offers easy access for people who want to use the schoolyard for such purposes.
“This is something constituents brought to my attention during the campaign,’’ Sayegh said.
But getting the problem resolved has not proved as easy as the councilman hoped. For a while, there had been uncertainty over who owned the land alongside the school, officials said. But that was cleared up in a meeting at the end of July, said state-appointed schools superintendent Donnie Evans. The yard and field belong to Paterson Public Schools, he said.
As a result of that meeting, Sayegh said school officials have agreed to post “No Trespassing” signs around the yard, to include the School 25 area in their night-time security patrol route and to fix the gaps in the yard’s fence that some people use to sneak in and out.
“I’m hopeful the situation will be resolved now,’’ said Sayegh.
School officials said they expected to fix the fence within two weeks.
In some ways, the School 25 yard is a gem in Paterson, a rare location where a baseball field sits next to the school building. In the late summer and fall, the field is used by local football teams for practice.
Even though the school district owns the field, the City of Paterson has taken care of it. The city recently spent $6,000 on new sod and other improvements, said Public Works Director Christopher Coke. Moreover, he said, municipal parks crews keep the field maintained.