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Public Comments

Municipal Complex

Subject: Copy of letter sent to The Observer today
Date: Wednesday, August 09, 2000 9:41 PM

Letter to the Editor -

When the Senior Center and Library were proposed for the corner properties of
Central and the Blvd., I was quite pleased. As a resident of Central Avenue I
had a vision of a lovely facility for our community that incorporated a
landscaped courtyard where the children's story hours could be conducted,
where older children could safely walk to, where seniors could meet their
friends before an activity, where one could sit with their borrowed books and
enjoy a sunny day.

Last night I attended the special council meeting that the residents of
Central and Madison were invited to, via registered letter, about the new
municipal building that has been proposed for this same piece of property.

I, along with the other attendees were outraged. And very vocal.

The mayor and the hired architect unveiled a plan that consists of a massive
building, two parking lots and the incorporating of all municipal facilities,
including the library and Senior Center, police, courthouse (except the fire
department) into one building.

What does this mean to the citizens of Hasbrouck Heights?

It means that the most vulnerable of our residents, Seniors and children will
be exposed to the danger of a police department's speeding cars out of a 24
hour parking lot and highly increased traffic at this location due to the
municipal offices including the courthouse being included in this plan. It is
exposing all of our community to courthouse activities, including criminals.
Was the placement of a metal detector included in plans?

Kids and crooks don't belong together.

It means increased traffic on the Blvd. (the mayor said that traffic would
not be permitted down Central or Madison out of the massive eyesore parking
lot and would be forced on to the Blvd.) which can be bumper to bumper now
when Route 17 gets jammed and people look for alternatives past Hasbrouck

It means that a highly traveled children's pedestrian walkway to the high
school and Corpus Christi be exposed to increased car traffic.

It means the loss of property values of those residents in this area. We did
not buy our homes to live near a municipal white elephant. We bought our
homes to live in a quiet residential area.

It means the town having to purchase homes of people that are long time
residents including those that have recently invested heavily to upgrade
their homes (one resident at the meeting was granted a building permit in
March for extensive renovations when the town knew they were working on this
plan and her house was one being considered for purchase).

It does NOT mean increased exposure to the retailers of the Blvd. as stated
in the meeting due to the increased parking. The parking lot is too far down
the Blvd. for that use.

It does NOT mean anything to me that this would save the town money by
putting all of the municipal offices next to each other. Alternative plans
were not presented with dollar figures attached to see how this plan would
compare to keeping the current situation. And even if it is more money,
maintaining our town's character is priceless.

It does not mean a thing to me that all of the department heads were
interviewed to see what their needs were and that might have said that that
they need a bigger office, more room to spread out, better equipment. I need
a bigger kitchen and a new stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, hey, and maybe
even a trash compactor, new microwave in my home but that's not going to
happen either unless, of course, I burn down my house and get an extra
$1,000,000 in insurance money like Mayor Torre said the town got.

Where were the other plans and some ideas that should have been presented at
the same time as this?

Where was:

1) Raze the old municipal building, buy properties around there, start from
scratch so that everything can be done to code and put everything back there.
Proceed with the Library/Senior Center plan.

2) Buy the Kundert property on Terrace and surrounding property if necessary
and put the police and fire dept. there. Municipal offices can go back to a
new building on Hamilton. Proceed with the Library/Senior Center Plan.

We won't allow this plan to be shoved down our throats. There are many other
alternatives that were not considered. Just because "it is easy" is not a
reason and this is what came across in the meeting. We will fight to preserve
our way of life and our neighborhood.

Sonya Buckman
Central Ave.

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