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Division of County Unveils Master Plan
To Develop Port Region
ELIZABETH — The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has announced the completion of a comprehensive Port Master Plan for charting future economic growth in the county’s port region.
The plan calls for major infrastructure improvements in Elizabeth and Linden and sets economic development goals.
“Union County boasts an unparalleled railroad and highway infrastructure, the largest container port on the East Coast, and the fastestgrowing international airport in the region,” Freeholder Chairman Nicholas P. Scutari said.
“A plan focused on seaportand airport-related industries is an essential guide for our efforts to ensure that the county retains and attracts economic development,” he added.
The result of a one-year study, the Port Master Plan follows recent announcements of concept plans for port development by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the City of New York.
“The Port Master Plan — a blueprint for economic development, transportation and growth in the port region — represents the county’s claim on its own development destiny,” explained Freeholder Scutari, a resident of Linden.
The Port Master Plan emphasizes improvements to the region’s transportation infrastructure as a cornerstone for smart development. Significant improvements to roadways leading to and from the airport and seaport, as well as high-tech traffic management systems, are planned to ease congestion and provide more efficient movement between development areas and major highways like the New Jersey Turnpike.
“We are in the midst of an economic expansion and we want to
keep the momentum growing,” said Freeholder Linda d. Stender of Fanwood, Chairwoman of the county’s Economic Development Committee.
The Port Master Plan breaks the port region into three Economic Development Districts. District 1 lies just south of Newark International Airport; District 2 includes parts of Elizabeth just east of the New Jersey Turnpike, directly south of Port Elizabeth and including the IKEA complex, and District 3 includes an area south of the Goethals Bridge in Elizabeth and industrial sections of Linden, including Tremley Point and Linden Airport.
In Elizabeth, improvements include a new connection between Dowd Avenue/Division Street and a freight entrance to Newark Airport, improvements at the Dowd, Division and North Avenue intersection, and better access to new development, including the soon-to-open Jersey Gardens Mall.
In Linden, the Port Master Plan calls for a new truck-only connection to the Turnpike just north of the existing access road to the Tremley Point industrial zone, as well as local road improvements to benefit commuters and residents. These improvements are designed to make Tremley Point a candidate for new commercial and industrial investment, officials said.
In addition to road and infrastructure improvements, the Port Master Plan focuses economic development on available properties in and near the port region.
County officials will work to identify properties suitable for development. One focus of this effort will be the redevelopment of “brownfields,” unused former industrial properties, particularly in Tremley Point and the Bayway section of Elizabeth, which are considered well-situated for new investment.
The Port Master Plan grew out of a Transportation Development District (TDD) created to address transportation and development demands caused by a surge in economic development in Elizabeth, Linden and Rahway along the Route 1 and 9 corridor.
Infrastructure improvements will be financed by a blend of public and private funds. Having established the Port Master Plan — with the involvement of and support from local municipalities and the private sector — the county will be in a stronger position to seek state and Federal funds for its efforts, officials revealed.
“The Freeholders are investing in safe, efficient roads and bridges and mass transit to promote smart growth and a 21st century transportation network,” Freeholder Stender said.
“Enactment of this Port Master Plan will enable us to begin the new century with improved roadways and a revitalized industrial and commercial economy, with new jobs and opportunities from a thriving seaport and aviation industry,” she concluded.
Downtown Westfield Corp. Recognized for Excellence
WESTFIELD — The efforts of the Downtown Westfield Corporation (DWC) have earned it recognition for excellence in the field of downtown revitalization.
The local organization was honored for meeting high standards for performance set by the Main Street New Jersey and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center.
The DWC joins 225 other such programs designated for high performance in program development, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center.
The national recognition program evaluates downtown revitalization programs based on strict criteria such as: broad based public support, historic preservation ethic, an active board of directors, adequate funding, a paid professional manager and reporting of economic progress by providing statistical information.
The program’s performance was evaluated by Main Street New Jersey, which is the statewide coordi
nating organization for Main Street programs in New Jersey.
“The Main Street program creates a vibrant, multiple-use, pedestrian-friendly environment in the traditional commercial district, thereby increasing economic vitality and saving historic buildings that make up the character and heritage of a community,” said Kennedy Smith, Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center.
“The people of Westfield should be proud of their achievement in their program’s development, and maintain their commitment to downtown revitalization,” he concluded.
‘Passport to Education’ Proves Successful Again
By SUZETTE F. STALKER
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
WESTFIELD — More than 450 revelers filled the National Guard Armory last Friday for a festive evening of music, local cuisine and camaraderie during the second annual “Passport to Education” dance party to benefit technology in Westfield’s public schools.
Passports, which cost $50, offered admission to the five-hour, casual-attire bash, which was once again co-sponsored by the Education Fund of Westfield and Comcast @Home Internet service.
“I think it was better than last year,” remarked Darryl Walker, Territory Sales Manager for Comcast@Home and publisher of the Westfield web site, who came up with the “Passport” concept as a way to advance technology in the school district as it approaches the 21st century.
“Everyone seemed to say it was a great value for the ticket, and they like to donate to a worthy cause,” stated Mr. Walker, who gave his wife and business partner, Debbie, substantial credit for helping to organize the event. Mr. and Mrs. Walker served as Co-Chairmen for the party.
“It’s great to see the entire community get involved in supporting technology in Westfield public schools,” added Mr. Walker, who revealed that last year’s event netted $15,000 for the school district.
Partygoers took to the dance floor as three musical headliners entertained the crowd with a lively blend of tunes from yesterday and today.
The Robbie Rigo Show featured classic and modern rock favorites coupled with Top 40 selections, while Hollywood East served up a jazzy potpourri of rhythm and blues, funk, reggae, disco and dance numbers.
A wave of nostalgia swept the party as Terry King and Don Thomas, former members of “The Drift
ers,” got the crowd swaying to such memorable songs as “My Girl” and “Under the Boardwalk” during a “’50s and ’60s Motown Show” beginning at 10 p.m.
Among those whose talents were showcased during the band performances were 1985 “Star Search” finalists; vocalist Caroline Daly from the European Evita; the Atlantic recording artists “Change,” a sax player from the “Blues Brothers,” and a drummer from “Big Apple Circus.”
Also on hand was disk jockey “Rocking Ray,” who kicked off the entertainment roster and played later in the evening as well. There was also a hula hoop contest.
A hot and cold buffet offered attendees a wide range of specialties – including coffee and desserts — donated by several area businesses.
Participants included The Windmill Restaurant, Trader Joe’s, Clyne & Murphy and Ahrre’s Coffee Roastery, all of Westfield; Kings Super Markets of Garwood, and Merchants of Venice in Clark.
Two classic cars helped enhance the party atmosphere, including a 1965 red Mustang belonging to Mr. Walker and a 1965 Jaguar XKE convertible owned by Manny Barreiros of Mountainside. Mr. Barreiros, a Mountainside resident, owns the Westfield Citgo station on South Avenue.
Prizes awarded during the event included software and free months of Comcast@Home service. The grand prize, won by Jane Francz of Westfield, was a Pentium multimedia computer with a 15-inch monitor donated by CompUSA.
“I think its tremendous how all the volunteers and sponsors contributed to making the event a success,” said Mr. Walker, who noted that the number of sponsors this year exceeded last year’s debut event.
“We want to thank everyone who attended and participated,” he concluded.
Seventh Networking Cruise To Coincide With Fleet Week
ELIZABETH — The Union County Economic Development Corporation’s seventh annual Networking Cruise will be held on Wednesday, May 26.
The day will begin with a Dockside Reception at 10 a.m., followed by the Networking Cruise from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Elizabeth Marina.
“We have planned an exciting event coinciding with the kick-off of the U.S. Naval ‘Fleet Week’ in the New York Harbor,” said Maureen Tinen, President of the Union County Economic Development Corporation.
According to Ms. Tinen, more than 200 guests attended last year’s event,
including many Union County community leaders.
“Among the reasons our cruise is so successful is that we bring together the top leaders of the economic development, political, corporate and academic worlds,” she said.
“During the course of just a few hours, our guests meet, exchange ideas and develop future collaborative plans, all in an enjoyable atmosphere,” Ms. Tinen added.
The cost for the Networking Cruise is $85 per person, which includes food and beverages at the Dockside Reception, and a full hot buffet lunch with open bar aboard the cruise.
The special guest at this event will be Rick Cerone, catcher for the New York Yankees from 1980 to 1988 and current owner of the Newark Bears minor league baseball team.
To register for this Networking Cruise or for more information, please call (908) 527-1166.
Call (908) 232-4407