Like many of us who are concerned with the present and the future of Plainfield I am disappointed with the repetitive year in year out "talk, talk, plan ,plan, do nothing, file away and forget" history of Plainfield's Government's programs to revitalize the City. Some like Councilor Storch and Tony Rucker do post suggestions, some of which reach a talk/plan stage and then comes hiatus. Others who write have suggestion to go along with their flights of fancy I may fall into that group.
Never-the-less I am going to throw out for consideration a proposal which if enough public spirited individuals can follow through may be innovative enough to cause a rebirth. It is still in a thought evolving stage and others may have a better vision.. However, if there is ever going to be a future for Plainfield something has to start someplace.
Those that would accept the idea and refine it should come together as a dedicated group I would name "Plainfied Visionairs" with a goal of forging definitive programs with priorities to be presented to the Council and Administration for approval and city participation as needed. I am considering this group to eventually adopt Non-Profit Status after an initial feeling out period so that it can be the facilitator of any "rebirth" programs that may need Private or Public/Private funding.
There must originally a very small core to start, but expansion could be rapid as soon as direction can be established. I could clarify. I would hope that at some point an experienced Grantsman like April Stefel would be part of the core group since funds will be the key word. Also some pro-bono attorneys, businessmen merchants and just plain imaginative citizens without per agendas will be the working groups. Topsy grows as ideas and time dictates..
I envision focusing on various projects and trying to establish priorities. These are listed in an order that i feel important but that will be the decision of the Work Group.. The list is of course incomplete as I am flying this subject;
- The restoration of a workable medical facility on the Muhlenberg Campus. The lack of a hospital facility within minutes will kill any revitalization of the community'
- The development of the Wood site for a Recreational Program site including paying fields and a building that can support athletics, club activities, and be available for all age groups. The Grant Ave Train site and four corners could be developed for commercial use-This was a low priority on the Vision Study but in my opinion should be equated with the hospital as a necessity. Due to the present problems in the area a police substation should be adjacent. Since this will serve the projects it must have sincere consideration.
- Redevelopment of the city core as in the Vision Study. Because of the uniqueness of some of the older buildings an effort should be made for designation of selected ones as an historic site or the area for the facades.
- Redevelopment of the railroad corridor between Richmond Street and Netherwood Station starting on the North side with replacing the antiquated relics that are still standing. This will have to be a total new construction. The large factories on the South Side will have to be evaluated if they are salvageable for manufacturing or any other use. the likelihood is that they too will need replacement. This must have AAA priority. Consultants will be needed and fund raised. The Non-Profit status will help for this and teh Wood project.
- The Netherwood TOD with possible inclusion of the Armory as a Recreational focus.for the 1st and 2nd Ward areas.
- The Clinton Ave development per the Vision Study
- Replacement of the old Mack Truck Buildings with development of small to moderate size commercial/manufacturing properties similar to the Richmond-east development.
- The New York City Direct connection will be a fact (not in my lifetime but perhaps in the next decade). Equally important should be the lobbying for the restoration of the tracks from Cranford to Eport for one or two car fast train service from the west to make access for workers to industrial areas along the line including those near the airport.
Early on some one will have be a chairperson to make sure that every thing is active. I would work with that person.
After I had written this Sunday night, in rereading Tony's blog I for the first time noticed two comments which indicated that others have similar thoughts. I hope that anonymous who indicates a group is being formed would trade ideas with me. I do not have the stamina to form such a group since as the author of the infamous "Scarlet Letter" credited me with being at least a 100 years or more old.