Looking to buy … but no sale yet

EAST NEWARK –

It appears that the Borough of East Newark is taking steps to acquire the St. Anthony’s Center building.

But is that what’s happening?

Last Wednesday, Oct. 12, the borough governing body approved a bond ordinance proposing to spend $1,165,000 for physical improvements to Borough Hall, new equipment and a surprise item.

That item is “acquisition of real property (including site investigation and remediation) for municipal purposes.”

That property is listed as 446 N. Second St., which is the social center, and 443-447 John St., three lots that make up the center’s huge parking lot.

Estimated cost for the property and for environmental work is $500,000.

Municipal tax records show the assessed value for the building as $454,000 and the combined assessment for the parking lot as $58,200 for a total of $512,200.

What the borough would do with the property is not clear. The Observer could not reach Mayor Joseph Smith for comment.

But that’s only part of the mystery.

The Archdiocese of Newark is the owner of the St. Anthony’s Center property and its spokesman James Goodness has said previously that the archdiocese has been trying to find a buyer for the property and that East Newark is one of the interested parties.

But, last week, when informed that the borough had taken action in an apparent move to purchase the property, Goodness – after checking with the archdiocese real estate personnel – said: “The property is still on the market. We have not accepted any offers.”

When asked why the borough would set things in motion for the apparent acquisition of the property, Goodness could offer no explanation.

In any case, the municipal bond ordinance also proposes to allocate:

$50,000 for “various improvements to the municipal building.”

$100,000 for “construction of the Searing Ave. parking lot.”

$50,000 for “acquisition of new additional or replacement equipment and machinery … for the use of the Fire Department.”

$150,000 for “acquisition of new additional or replacement equipment and machinery consisting of snow removal equipment for the use of the Department of Public Works.”

$15,000 for “acquisition of new additional or replacement equipment and machinery consisting of street cleaning equipment for the use of the DPW.”

$100,000 for “undertaking of various improvements to Police Headquarters,” which Police Chief Anthony Monteiro said would include “opening the front end” of HQ by “removing the old paneling” and upgrading the dispatch center.

$50,000 for “acquisition of new information technology equipment and new additional or replacement equipment and machinery for the use of various borough departments, offices and agencies consisting of computer equipment and office equipment.”

$100,000 for “undertaking of various improvements to the DPW garage.”

$50,000 for “undertaking of storm and sanitary sewer improvements at various locations.”

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Ron Leir | Observer Correspondent

Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc. He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter. He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based W.H.A.T. Co. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, N.Y.