By Anthony J. Machcinski
Many Kearny residents might be unable to answer the question, “Where is Jacobus Ave.?” For the record, Jacobus Ave. is a South Kearny road, heavily used by trucking companies. On Dec. 15, the town of Kearny announced the completion of an improvement project that repaired the sewers, replaced waterlines, and fixed the roadway.
“There are numerous businesses that are warehouse and transportation related, and for businesses that warehouse and deliver goods the roadways are critical,” said Kearny Mayor Alberto G. Santos.
“It’s an area that’s heavily traveled by trucks and the road was like a battlefield,” explained UEZ coordinator John Peneda. “It was really bad and we wanted to do it right.”
The nearly $4.5 million project was funded by the Kearny Urban Enterprise Zone (KUEZ) and the Kearny Municipal Utilities Authority (KMUA) – a move that spared the town any related tax increases.
“Tax dollars are scarce, so we were able to leverage UEZ funds,” Santos explained. “Anytime someone purchased an item in Kearny, the (3.5%) sales tax went to programs like this. We invest our UEZ funds in town, achieving the goals of the state UEZ.”
The project, which comprised the separation of sewers, replacement of water lines, drainage improvements, roadway reconstruction, and curb installation, was completed on Nov. 29.
Next for improvement is N. Hackensack Ave., another road in South Kearny that stretches from U.S. Rt. 1 Truck Route north Stern Ave.
“That is a very critical road for trucking-related businesses and the chemical plant,” Santos explained.
The money for that project will come from a mixture of grants and 0% loans using the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure trust fund that helps with roadway and storm sewer projects.
That project will start as soon as this spring. With the two projects, Peneda believes that businesses will stay in South Kearny as well as attract new ones.
“It’s good for the businesses, the residents, and for recruiting businesses,” Peneda explained. “It’s not a redevelopment zone, but we’re trying to draw business down there.”