Two major Kearny infrastructure projects set to begin; also, PD buys 6 license plate readers

A license plate reader atop a police radio car
A license plate reader atop a police radio car Photo courtesy of the Denver Police Department

At its Oct. 25 meeting, the town governing body awarded a $5.34 million contract to ConQuest Construction Inc., of Hackensack, for the first phase of a lead water service line replacements and roadway improvements project.

Under a state mandate, Kearny has 10 years to complete the phasing out of lead and/or galvanized steel piping delivering potable water to local customers.

Stephen Marks, town administrator, said ConQuest submitted the lowest of seven bids ranging up to a high of about $11.3 million.

Neglia Engineering, the town’s Lyndhurst-based consulting engineers, will get $514,500 to manage the project.

Phase 1 is expected to target between 600 and 700 water customers spread along a radius of up to 19 blocks, according to Marks. There is no cost to individual homeowners for the new services lines, he said.

The town is financing the project partly through bonding and partly with its annual allocation of state Department of Transportation municipal aid funding which, for this year, amounts to $440,000, Marks said. The job is projected for completion by next spring, so as to allow time for the repaved roadway to settle.

Information about which streets were scheduled to be dug up in preparation for the installation of new water pipes was provided to PSE&G “about six months ago,” Marks said, in hopes of avoiding the possibility of the utility excavating the same streets to put in new gas lines.

The other infrastructure job is the Hackensack Avenue Streetscape project which, as specified by town bid specifications, “will include, but is not limited to, full depth roadway reconstruction for roadway re-alignment, milling and repaving, drainage and utility construction, green infrastructure improvements, curbways, walkways, bike paths and streetscape elements,” from Truck Rts. 1&9 to the southern terminus of the avenue.

Hackensack Avenue leads to Kearny Point, part of the town’s reclaimed Hackensack River waterfront, and bills itself as the “ideal workspace environment” in a “flex building” currently leasing space to more than 200 businesses” from gyms to office spaces to cat shelters.

Marks said the project is being undertaken as a “public-private partnership,” with the U.S. Commerce Department underwriting $3 million and the N.J. Department of Transportation, $1.4 million. And the Hugo Neu Corp., which owns Kearny Point, contributed in-kind services by hiring a design engineer to draw up design plans for the project.

The governing body voted to contract with Concrete Construction Corp., of Hackensack, for $3.99 million to undertake the streetscape job. It was the lowest of six bids received by the town.

Neglia will receive $208,400 for construction management.

Work will begin in the spring, Marks said.

Meanwhile, the town continues to deliberate on a pair of development proposals for two properties on its east side.

ANO (Atlantic North Ocean General Trading), LLC, proposes to lease its property at 21 Sanford Ave. to Red 21, LLC, for office and warehousing space. The land lies within the Sanford Avenue Redevelopment Area and the town governing body is weighing whether to refer the proposal to the Zoning Board for a possible variance.

In a separate matter, Race Shop LLC, which is leasing 24-28 John Hay Ave., located in the Schuyler Avenue Redevelopment Area, wants to use a recently renovated and climate-controlled warehouse on the site “to garage high-end luxury cars such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Aston Martin owned by a small group of private automobile collectors,” according to attorney Gary Bennett, representing Race Shop LLC.

Race Shop plans to “occasionally sell and transfer” some of these luxury vehicles “by appointment only,” Bennett advised the mayor and council.

Although car dealerships aren’t a permitted use within the redevelopment area, Bennett argues the proposed use “is a specialty boutique dealer”rather than a conventional car dealer and, therefore, has proposed that the town consider a modification to or exemption from the redevelopment plan to allow for an application to be made to the zoning board “to address a unique type of business.”

In other business, the governing body authorized the KPD to apply to the N.J. Department of Law & Public Safety for $87,588 in fiscal 2021 American Rescue Plan Coronavirus funding to acquire six automated license plate readers.

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Ron Leir | For The Observer

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 WHATCo. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, New York