Monday, April 17, 2017

THE MUHLENBERG CAMPUS DEAL



On Sept. 15.2013 the Council allotted $48000.00 to Heyer, Gruel & Associates to study redevelopment plans for the Muhlenberg Campus.

After several Town Hall meetings the 61 page report was approved on August 6, 2014 and referred to the Planning Board.

Another Resolution for about #50K authorized the same group to draw up a definitive plan. This one is only 34 pages and on the surface seems to be a condensation of the first report with the much criticized housing complex still present in a masked form.

There will be a public meeting Monday, April 24 at the DuCrete School 1030 Central Ave. at 7:30 pm.

Of interest this report which lists permitted use doesn’t list acute care hospital. Nursing home yes as well as various medical related ambulatory facilities.

 On page 30 quoting the Plainfield Master Plan is the following statement under “Objectives”: “Support ongoing efforts to maintain the Muhlenberg facilities as a full acute care hospital with inpatient services”. On page 32 under the State Development and Redevelopment is this statement: “The former JFKMuhlenberg hospital has been part of the fabric of the Plainfield community for over a century. The restoration of a similar use to the property will protect the character of the existing community.”

I have seen no mention of an inpatient facility of any size in the proposal; no mention of a for profit entity being contacted; since there is no place for non-profits in today’s world.

On the other hand this proposal is consistent with the past decades political leadership at the local and state levels to play patsy with JFK and permit the rape of Plainfield’s heath assets without ever making a legitimate effort to preserve it or replace the operators  of the hospital. Yes early on there were serious entities that were rebuffed by administrative inaction.

Yes; no administration from 2007 to date even attempted to collect taxes from JFK for at least their money making usages of portions of the property.

There is merit in that the plan may restore accessible physician’s services to Plainfield. But no quality local group services will be possible without inpatient availability.

The experience of the Community Health Services (old Neighborhood House} which is facing financial problems and may close suggests without an inpatient support any such venture will fail.

Neighborhood Health Center Plainfield treated 9,460 patients in Plainfield, New Jersey, which is less than the average volume for health centers in New Jersey (21,333 in 2012). Of that number 40% were for dental services.
What has the public gotten for our near 100K?

I will try to attend the meeting and hope that I will learn something positive.

4 comments:

  1. The only things certain is that consultants will take our money when it is offered and veterans are an easy vehicle from which developers can make a buck. If we are 'lucky' we'll get veterans housing at Muhlenberg, Dudley House, Abbott Manor, and the Coriell Mansion.

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  2. Not sure why consultants are hired. It seems that they are hired to provide the answer that the hiring entity desires. You noted that "much criticized housing complex still present in a masked form" They are supposed to present a form that will work today whether the neighbors are for it or not. The state won't approve a hospital so how many years of a vacant building will it take to give this notion up. Tear it down as it is a disfuntuonal building compared to today's standard. Remember how long park Madison sat.

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    1. You are right that the State will not approve a Muhlenberg type hospital.However with the right type of Trenton pressure which has been absent in the past, it is possible that an small 120 bed for profit acute bed facility could be approved. I believe that there is precedence in Bergen County's Passack Valley Hospital which was closed ala Muhlenberg but reopened under public pressure as part of Hackensack's chain with limited functions.The area's needs must be a consideration and traffic is a factor.

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  3. In response to Bill Kruses’ comment on Muhlenberg. Yes, the deal does seem to have momentum, however, the public community was assured there would be NO housing on that property. If it made sense when it was said over two years ago, it certainly makes sense now. I am very disappointed to say the least. Not only is there a housing component, this particular component opens the door for drug/alcohol rehab, methadone clinic’s and any other mental disability you can think of including Vets with PTSD (which is the main plan). I promise you this will turn out to be one big group home. Let this happen and come back in 5 years to see the results. Picture Park Hotel on steroids. Bill also mentioned property taxes and the opportunity for the city to collect some taxes. Do we need more properties on our tax roll, absolutely, however don’t forget this project comes with a PILOT. So while we may collect some monies it does come with a negative cost to the quality of life and property value for the surrounding community and it may actually prove to increase the taxes because of the additional services the city may need to provide. Police, fire, public works, etc..

    The city at the insistence of the community should deny any type of housing on this property, especially the “Dwelling Unit” which is code for group home and “Assisted Living Facility – licensed by the DOH. Once this door is open you cannot discriminate on what type of group home or assisted living facility could occupy the space. Combined, the number of units could be close to 600. If the developer feels they can’t do the project without the housing component then let them find somewhere else to build this group home or deny the PILOT. The sad truth is, unless the property was for sale on the open market we will never know what opportunities we could’ve had for that property and our community. I would rather see the property sit vacant than to have the proposed housing, I am not alone in my thinking. This deal is not good for the city and will not benefit the tax payers.

    It’s amazing how the plans of the “powers that be” made sure to overwhelm the community with a significant amount of meaningless meeting design to smokescreen the real plan. Most of us know 600 units of residential rentals was never on the table as a real option. Vets’ with PTSD and other brain trauma and treatment facilities was always the plan. What a waste of tax-payers money and time for all the consultants and studies. Now that the deal is either completed or in the final stages of being completed, they decide to hold a community meetings at a location foreign in respect to the other meetings that was held and with very little public notice. I’ am expecting to get at least 3 recorded phone call in respect to Mondays meeting.

    RB

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