News in brief …

KEARNY – The Peruvian Civic Association of New Jersey has asked the Kearny municipal government to set aside a portion of Riverbank Park as a “Peruvian Heritage Park.”

Association representatives Yanina Paz and Hugo Tejeda told the mayor and Town Council last Tuesday that the park would serve as a symbol “to recognize the contributions of the Peruvian community” and “preserve the Peruvian traditions.”

Planning for the park began five years ago, Paz said.

The site targeted for the park would be along the west side of Passaic Ave., off Peden Terrace.

Tejeda said the association wants to erect a 7-foot-tall, black granite obelisk with the map of Peru engraved on its surface, surrounded by oval-shaped brick pavers.

There would also be two park benches and flag poles, he said.

Tejeda said the group hopes to have everything in place in time for celebrating Peruvian Independence Day on July 8.

Mayor Alberto Santos said he would be “happy to see it come about” by that date but added a cautionary note that “there’s still a lot of work to be done” before their goal can be realized.

Clarifying the group’s responsibilities, Santos said, “the association will pay to remove one dogwood tree at the site and will pay for the pavers and monument” while the town would pitch in with the benches and flag poles.

Typically, said Michael Neglia, the town’s consulting engineer, “there’s a six-week lead time” for ordering such items.

Paz told The Observer that the association will need an estimated $25,000 for its share of the project and that it would be holding fundraisers and seeking donations to come up with the cash.

Riverbank Park, a municipal recreation facility, currently has sections dedicated to the contributions of Irish Americans (Irish Heritage Park), Scottish-Americans (Wallace Glen) and Italian-Americans (Christopher Columbus Park).

– Ron Leir

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HARRISON – The Harrison Planning Board voted last Wednesday, March 22, to clear the way for PSE&G to replace its aging power facility at S. Fifth and Bergen Sts. with a new 69kV electrical substation.

After discussion about noise and light issues, the board granted the utility site plan approval, allowing it to proceed with the project in the town’s Community Commercial zone.

PSE&G plans to demolish the existing building on the site and consolidate several lots to install:

a two-story gas-insulated switchgear building with a basement.

two transformers with 17.4-foot-high combination isolation and sound walls.

one 13kV prefab switchgear unit.

two pad-mounted station light and power transformers.

Grounding, site lighting and three ground-mounted 43.9-foot-tall lightning protection masts.

The new station will be surfaced with crushed stone and secured with an 8-foot-high ornamental fence atop a retaining wall along the south property line, otherwise screened by a 10-foot-high precast wall.

Several street trees will be planted along S. Fifth and Bergen.

The utility will install one new driveway along S. Fifth and the existing driveway on Bergen will be moved slightly to the west, thereby requiring a reconfiguration of some on-street parking and meters.

The board granted the utility land use variances from restrictions on height and front, rear and side yard setbacks, along with exceptions from landscaping, fencing and wall design standards.

PSE&G plans to use the property at 531 Bergen as a temporary “lay-down” yard for additional space to accommodate soil stockpiling, material storage and temporary construction trailers.

The utility was represented at the board hearing by the Weiner Law Group of Parsippany.

In other business, the board agreed to defer, to April 6, a public hearing on an application by Golden Brick Improvement Development Co. of Wayne (John Chen, member) for approval of site plan and variances for construction of a 36-unit apartment building with a small commercial unit and off-street parking at 730-738 Harrison Ave.

The applicant proposes to tear down an abandoned gas station on the 13,672-square foot project site and put up a four-story/43.5-foot-high building of 32,157 square feet.

Golden Brick acquired the property from the estate of Lois Lincoln of Spring Lake Heights in September 2016 for $725,000, according to the deed registered for the transaction.

– Ron Leir

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.