PLAINFIELD, NJ — A proposed pedestrian mall on North Avenue will only make a shortage of parking worse, residents argued at Monday’s agenda-fixing session, and two councilors voted “no” on moving a financing resolution to the March 9 regular meeting.

Resident Cheryl Bullock recalled promises of a parking deck, while Mary Burgwinkle spoke about concert-goers unable to park on North Avenue. Nancy Piwowar described how mail trailers backing in to the main post office tie up traffic and said she goes through North Plainfield as a strategy to avoid such delays. As a business owner, resident Sam Cooper told the council, “I really need you to think about the pedestrian mall.”

 

Councilor Sean McKenna said the $2 million cost of the pedestrian mall “goes against our debt limit and ability to borrow,” while Councilor Ashley Davis said most of the parking spaces on North Avenue are taken up by residents.

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Economic Development Director Valerie Jackson countered with the possibility that the Union County Improvement Authority’s parking deck may finally be opened to Plainfield for parking, though not for the pedestrian mall. 

Nonetheless, the 38 resolutions and seven ordinances under discussion will all be up for approval at the March 9 regular meeting, 7 p.m. in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.

The proposed agenda contained nearly a dozen resolutions celebrating milestones, such as Masjidullah’s 50 years of service to Plainfield, Deputy Fire Chief Mike McCue’s 41 years of service, Dr. Harold Yood’s 100th birthday and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote.

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Regarding a resolution to form the 2020 Citizens’ Budget Advisory Committee, McKenna asked when the governing body would get the budget. Finance Director Ron West said the budget would be brought before the council in April.

“They (CBAC) don’t see the budget until the council has seen it,” West said.

Davis asked about a resolution to add $200,000 to the “Accumulated Absences Trust” which covers unused sick and vacation pay. West said the total time owed is about 8,200 days’ worth in excess of $2.7 million.

Approval next week looks likely for a “payment in lieu of taxes” agreement related to refurbishing of the Netherwood Village complex on East Front Street, as well as a residency waiver for Brittany D. Claybrooks to join Economic Development Director Valerie Jackson’s team.

 

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