October 8th, 2007 11:47 PM by Manuel Couto, CRS, CRB
so I really didn't tell the truth. There is nothing on Town Politics here. Just a ramble on how some towns grow and flourish while others just slowly die away. The office I work in, is in Kearny NJ. A suburban/urban town of single and multi-family homes mixed into commercial and light industrial properties. Kearny is a typical working class blue color town. Lower Kearny vs middle Kearny vs upper Kearny. Each group of residents believe their section is best, and their school district has and offers the most potential to the residents.
GREAT! But the problem isn't the schools (you can double check the neighborhood at www.MCouto.IsAnExpert.com ) but the town. There is a need and a desire among the business and community leaders that the town has to grow, or die. But how do you best support your business'? Is it by bringing in a Farmers Market once a week in front of Town hall? I don't think so. Is it a new statue, or more fireworks? Maybe an Urban Enterprise zone for lower taxes? Who knows, but it does not seem to be working.
I watch as new sidewalks unify the town design, but the empty stores are stark reminders that the economy has changed. At night, there are few families taking walks along the Avenue, or classy restaurants and coffee shops.
What's missing appears to be unified central business district. Midland Avenue started to grow... but stopped. Bergen Avenue has some growth and great potential, but it was never exercised while there was a hospital in the town. Schuyler Ave? Nope. Nothing there yet even though the plans call for a major bypass for trucks and more shops and residents developing. River Road (Passaic Ave). Great spot and great plans, but nothing has really happened. The stores are not being remodelled, no real River walk has tied Kearny to Harrison or N. Arlington, and the Park system along the river has not been fully utilized as anything more than a snow dumping ground when it gets real ugly during the winter.
Yep, I've been in town 20 years, and the chief complaint I hear from residents that want to move out is that they can no longer afford the taxes. I wonder if it's town, county or school budget increases taht hurt the tax base? The older Scottish and Irish population gave way to the Portuguese immigration wave, that is now giving way to a S. American immigration wave. The town welcomes them all, but the families have to be better involved in the community and school system to bring the town forward.
How? More town and community programs to teach english, to educate the population about the legal system (ever spend a day in municipal court?) as well as how they can take advantage of City/State and Federal programs for lunch menus, grants, and educational advancement. (how can this be achieved without an additional burden on the tax paying citizens of Kearny?)
Not an easy task, and one of the few things life has taught me is, The wheels of progress move VERY slowly. Good luck Mayor Santos, and the City council. I think Kearny is a great town to raise a family. The shops, while not open late and trendy, have mostly a 3% tax base. Kearny has two supermarkets, a large park system and Gunnel Oval has quite a few soccor fields and a great walkway along the marsh (bring mosquito repellant). The Schools could use improvement, but the parents are caring and walk better for their kids. Foreign language programs are offered by several community groups for their own kind. Spanish, Portuguese, Peruvian, Columbian, Brazilian... all available to keep the micro communities comfortable in this new state, new city, and in many cases, a new country.
www.MCoutoisanexpert.com is a great place to check on community school statistics, and www.MCoutoRealtor.com is my site, www.MyKearnyHome.com is the site where I am trying to be more Kearny specific. Any suggestions or recommendations are always welcome. Homes@MCoutoRealtor.com.