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Town: Downtown redevelopment project on hold PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 15:38

The town has posted a statement on the decision to take the proposed bond ordinance off of the Sept. 15 Town Council agenda. The full text is below, and here's the link to the statement on the town's website.

Downtown Redevelopment Project on Hold as Officials Continue Financial Discussions

In the spring of 2008, after ten years and scores of public meetings, along with thousands of hours of work by elected officials, professionals, volunteers, and the general public, the town was poised to begin redevelopment along the Main Street corridor in the heart of downtown West Orange. The revitalization program was designed to attract $250 million of investment into the most challenged area of our Township.


Unfortunately, with the historic collapse of the credit markets, a small yet critical portion of the financial structure was placed on hold. Like a football team that marched all the way down the field and was about to score, moving back ten yards was not going to deter us from reaching our ultimate goal

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 September 2009 16:16
Read more: Town: Downtown redevelopment project on hold
Proposed bond issuance for Main Street Redevelopment ended PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joe Krakoviak   
Tuesday, 01 September 2009 14:06

The town administration has ended its proposal to issue $28.9 million in general obligation bonds to help fund the $220-million Edison Village mixed-use part of the Main Street Redevelopment. The project is unlikely to move forward until another financing plan is developed, probably without a guarantee of repayment by the town and its taxpayers -- an element that prompted wide opposition among residents.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this excercise in democracy, including the town administration and town council. The West Orange Chronicle is planning a major story in this week's edition that comes out Thursday, if you're interested.

The town sent out the following e-mail in the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 1 under the subject header "Changes to September 15th Council Meeting."

Township Council Meeting of September 15, 2009


Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 10:4-8(d), notice is hereby given that the Public Hearing for Resolution 211-09 to Amend Introduced Budget will take place in Council Chambers, 66 Main Street, West Orange.


Also, Ordinance 2233-09 -Downtown Redevelopment Project,  which was previously noticed will not be heard by the Township Council at this time.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 September 2009 14:25
Star-Ledger features WestOrangeGrassroots.org in story PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 27 August 2009 08:08

WestOrangeGrassroots.org is featured in a story in the Star-Ledger today. Many thanks to all the folks who helped to get the site where it is now, especially Brian Goldberg with his technical wizardry and the many visitors and commenters. You'll see a reference in the story to "hits" to the site. We don't have a function that tracks visitors to the site, but we do have counters for individual articles -- the highest count being 166. However, I'm confident that we've gotten a lot more visitors than that. I've seen where we've had as many as 11 visitors at one time; correction, I just checked and we have 12 at the site right now! But we don't have the statistics to confirm a higher visitor count.

Debate over West Orange development moves from council chambers to the Internet

by Halley Bondy/For the Star-Ledger
Wednesday August 26, 2009, 6:26 PM

WEST ORANGE--A hot political debate is being waged in cyberspace, after residents began blogging about a development issue and the mayor responded with a YouTube video, complete with pie charts and snappy visuals.

Since May, hundreds of West Orange residents, many with real estate and banking backgrounds, have decried through emails, phone calls and public hearings a $29 million plan to finance a portion of a $250 million downtown retail and housing development project

To give residents a forum on the issue, which will be voted on by council in September, a West Orange resident created an online publication, West Orange Grassroots

Please click here for the rest of the story http://www.nj.com/news/local/index.ssf/2009/08/debate_over_west_orange_develo_2.html

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 August 2009 08:26
Fact, fiction and context in the mayor's video PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joe Krakoviak   
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 10:14

The mayor’s YouTube video, "West Orange Redevelopment: Fact and Fiction," seeks to separate fact and fiction in relation to the Edison Village project. The video is well-produced and very strong at explaining the potential benefits to the town. (Especially the second version, which has more credits, additional resident pictures and contact information, while deleting the pictures of our elected representatives at the groundbreaking and a speech. [UPDATE AND POSSIBLE CORRECTION: I just noticed that the pictures of our elected representatives are earlier in the video. I don't know if they were added back or if I just missed them, but they are there now. Apologies if I made a mistake.] I like the music too.) I also give credit to the town for opening up the video to moderated viewer comments. I’d like to help do the same thing with this video (relating with the times within the video):


0:50 When was the last time the park had “tens of thousands” of visitors annually? The facility has been essentially closed for improvements for several years. Many people are anxious for it to reopen.


1:00 The mayor says there hasn’t been any change in the project design, except the way a portion is financed. He follows with an explanation of Redevelopment Area Bonds (RABs). But these town-issued bonds have been a part of the previous three financing plans. He does not explain the new feature -- for the first time, the mayor is proposing that the town guarantee repayment of $28.9 million in bonds. This guarantee gives Prism the lowest borrowing costs possible today when private-market interest rates are high. It also increases the risk to taxpayers if the condo owners or redeveloper can’t or won’t repay the bonds. It is true that these lower interest rates also increase the revenue to the town if the project goes according to plan.

Last Updated on Monday, 31 August 2009 13:04
Read more: Fact, fiction and context in the mayor's video

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