Letters to the editor, May 31
‘Shedding’ light on shameful Lackawanna obstruction
After four years of fooling around, we finally get a serious offer of development at the abandoned Lackawanna site that isn’t an enormous monstrosity, and all of a sudden the Montclair Historic Society digs up statistics on “rare train sheds.”
The Lackawanna train station isn’t a museum. It was a shopping mall, and as a resident who lives in walking distance, I have been without a grocery store for four years. I appreciate rail history, I’ve visited historic sites in New Jersey and across the world, and train sheds under glass aren’t bringing any rail enthusiasts. I can’t help but think this is the latest manufactured issue to starve out the working class people who live in our district. We have a Whole Foods market up the road. We don’t need another corporate faux boutique grocer, we need an affordable grocer to feed us in this food desert that sells staples, not overpriced trendy food for the affluent. I’m sure they’re drooling over the prospect of evicting Popeyes Chicken from the premises and replacing it with an upscale eatery. Has it been there long enough to be considered historic or is a place where working people can afford to eat too shameful for this town’s new vision?
MHS graduation must balance tradition vs. space
A recent article and opinions have been shared on Facebook about the ongoing complaint associated with Montclair High School’s graduation location. As a native of Montclair, I remember the packed audience that supported my graduating class, of ’82, by sitting on the stone steps, in the heat, at the campus’s outdoor amphitheater venue. Mind you, all that truly mattered to my fellow classmates and family members was seeing the graduate walk the bridge while ending a poignant season in their life. The importance of the event affects the entire family and it is a joyful occasion, which all members of a family should enjoy.
Therefore, since the amphitheater seating is limited the school should open the very large adjacent theater to host the overflow crowd. So I ask, why not use a screen to display a live-stream version of the important event in the high school’s theater/concert hall? Many churches offer such an option. Thus, why is the high school unable to offer this service? However, the common opinion I have read, in the Montclair Local, suggest using the “cafeteria” as the additional audience space. This sounds like a neat option, but I suggest the theater as an alternative option.
The large indoor theater serves as a better option for an overflow crowd. Due to the need to set-up the cafeteria, which involves extra custodial labor, the indoor theater venue has available seats which are already provided. Hence, the indoor (cooler or warmer) seating could be offered to the graduate’s additional guest as priced seating. Here is the idea: after the three-limit guest seating tickets have been issued, all extra tickets are filled via the indoor theater, but the tickets must be purchased for a $5 (min) per ticket fee. The cost accommodates all budgets, helps find the event, and many additional guest would be pleased to join the celebration. But I also suggest this option, if more guests seek to attend, then the standing room only (outdoors viewing “over the fence") option would be offered.
Nonetheless, I am sure others may have suggested a similar option. I am no longer a Montclair resident, hence, I am not familiar with local happenings. But I still love my hometown. Therefore, I would not be pleased to learn how the legendary crossing of the bridge is no longer witnessed by family members and guest due to complaints about audience members seating. Sad. The graduation tradition caters to the earned graduate; thus, please let them participate in such a wonderful memorable tradition, for they have earned such a feat.
Act to prevent another gas compressor station
Along with several organizations, including the New Jersey Sierra Club, Food and Water Watch, and 350.org, I am very concerned about the proposed “Gateway Expansion Project” which is the name for the work Williams/Transco wants to do that includes building the second gas compressor station on Eagle Rock Avenue in Roseland. Apparently, the DEP may issue a “Freshwater Wetlands Permit” in mid-June without first having public hearings.
Both state and federal agencies have fined Williams/Transco numerous times for problematic operations of natural gas plants and pipelines. They too often leak, catch on fire and/or explode. Over the past four years there have been at least five workers killed and 120 people injured by accidents at its natural gas facilities.
Despite strong public protest Williams/Transco was allowed to build one gas compressor station in 2013, ironically next to the Essex County Environmental Center. It is also on a flood plain and next to the Passaic River. This proposed project right next to it doubles the danger.
No new pipeline is proposed, so the gas from these stations would increase the pressure in a 60-year-old pipeline that flows through over 15 municipalities including Montclair on its way to the coast. There is no evidence that this gas would benefit NJ residents; it would only be used to increase Williams/Transco’s profits. Why should New Jersey allow our resources to be exported at great risk to our own citizens?
Please email Diane Dow at firstname.lastname@example.org and Debbie Mans at email@example.com and ask that they deny Williams/Transco’s application for a permit, or, at least, hold public hearings so that the public can protest.
If not Edgemont Park, where else is Montclair's senior center?
Mayor Jackson’s remarks that Edgemont Park House is “not a senior center” and so does not need adequate safe parking contradicts the numerous promos on TV34 titled “Edgemont Park House Senior Center.” He and the council appear clueless as to the amount of activity there.
True, if it were a real senior center there might be hot water in the bathrooms, instead of frail seniors washing their hands in freezing cold water all winter. Light fixtures might not be dangling dangerously by threads of duct tape over their heads. And floor tiles would not be lifted by the strength of masking tape.
Drivers parking “in the mud” was an indication that more, not less, parking is needed there. Having a “grand” and “beautiful” entry to the park need not preclude convenience and safety for those who use it.
Years ago when a senior facility was available this town didn’t want it. A council member then (and still) suggested seniors should “find some church basement” for their activities. Maybe when the giant new hotel goes bankrupt, it could be used as a senior center. Until then, Edgemont Park House is functioning as the only one in town, so its patrons deserve sensible parking rather than more shrubbery and Belgian blocks.