March 2017 Monthly Meeting Reminder & Important Updates
Just a friendly reminder that the next VVPA monthly meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 21st at 7:00pm in The Barrow Mansion, located at 83 Wayne St. Please note that there have been a few updates and changes to the agenda – there’s something for everybody at this meeting!
New Agenda Item: We will have a short meet and greet with the new City Planner, Annisia Cialone, regarding her role and the City-wide Master Plan;
New Agenda Item: Come hear Council President Rolando Lavarro and Ward F City Councilman Jermaine Robinson speak about the Liberty Science Center/Jersey City Joint Venture (Sci-Tech City) which ordinance is on the City Council’s Agenda for 3/22. Please also see the Q&A about the project, prepared by Mayor Fulop, which appears later in this email.
And, finally, let’s talk about what to wear to the upcoming Totally Awesome 80’s Prom!!
Monthly Meeting Details & Agenda
Whether you are new to the neighborhood or a long-time resident, this is YOUR COMMUNITY. Stop by and have a glass a wine on us, while you meet neighbors and learn about what’s going on here in your historic neighborhood! Wine tasting to be provided by our friends at Jersey Wines & Spirits!
This month’s meeting features a meet and greet with new City Planner, a meet and greet with Assemblyman Chiaravalotti, the Executive Director of Parking Mary Spinello will answer prepared questions about parking enforcement in Jersey City, and Council President Lavarro and Ward F Councilman Robinson to explain the Sci-Tech City plan and why they support it.
7:00pm – 7:10pm – Welcome and Call to Order – President Oona Moore
7:10pm – 7:25pm – Officer & Committee Reports
- Treasurer Report – Dermot Ronan
- Events Committee Report – Marlene Sandkamp
7:25pm – 8:35pm – Guest Speakers & Presentations
- City Planner Annisia Cialone
- Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti
- Executive Director of Parking Mary Spinello
- City Council President Rolando Lavarro and Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson
8:35pm – 8:55pm – New Business
- Community input is welcomed for any other new issues/concerns affecting our community.
8:55pm – 9:00pm – Announcements & Community networking
Q&A: Liberty Science Center/Jersey City Joint Venture (Sti-Tech City) – by Mayor Fulop
Question: What is LSC relationship to Jersey City, I don’t believe LSC is invested in Our city?
Answer: LSC is invested in Jersey City
• Employs 101 Jersey City residents (33% of total labor force)
• 1,935 Jersey City families have LSC memberships
This will expand of course with SciTech city.
Question: What is the current relationship with the Jersey City schools?
• 30,500 Jersey City students visited in 2016 (82% of student population)
• Provides free STEM education programs to 5,740 Jersey City students
and teachers by obtaining $465,000 in grant funding
• 100 Jersey City teachers participate in LSC professional development
Question: Is this a gift to the Science Center?
Answer: No. This is a shared venture that the city benefits from as PARTNERS. The project will generate revenues for the non-profit (operating income, ground lease income etc.). Over time, if you add up this surplus each year when it exceeds the amount of money raised in donations for this project. At that moment this surplus will begin to be shared 50/50 with the City until the City receives its appraised value. Once the City receives its appraised the split is reduced to 80/20 nonprofit/City forever. So over time the City will eventually get more than its appraised value for the land. This is truly a joint venture but City is protected in every scenario including ultimately getting value for the property beyond all of the other important benefits (school etc.). The appraised value is really just a way to indicate when the split goes from 50/50 to 80/20. With all that said, our goal is not about making money here but about further strengthening our city.
Question: What is the risk to the city?
Answer: None. The city is a partner in revenue and in the case of any violation there are reverter clauses if they don’t build the project, violate terms of the agreements or property is transferred to, or ever owned by, a for-profit entity then the entire property returns to the city.
Question: Will this be a traditional Jersey City Public School?
Answer: Yes. This will be a Jersey City traditional public school. Cost of schools recently constructed in Jersey City have been more than $50million. This will be at no cost to tax payers.
Question: I heard LSC is losing money. Is that accurate?
Answer: No. $4.5m in operating funds generated in FY16. After debt service, capital investments in facility etc, lsc has $1.4m in net revenues from operations.
Question: What is the attendance at LSC?
Answer: During the past four years, LSC’s attendance has grown 53%, to more than 650,000 visitors annually, making the Center the fastest growing established museum in the United States. That growth should continue with the opening at LSC in December 2017 of the biggest and most technologically-advanced planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, which will draw tourists to Jersey City and serve as an unparalleled educational resource for students and families in New Jersey
Question: The city gave LSC a loan in 2008. Was this load repaid?
Answer: Yes. LSC borrowed $2.5M from UEZ in 20008/09; the loan was fully repaid by 9/1/2011. There is no current debt to the city or state on the LSC balance sheets. Since the time of the loan nearly the entire board and executive leadership has been changed. They have taken a once struggling entity well into the black.
Question: Why not sell the property?
Answer: The current proposals are for a major convention center and hotel being built by a private developer. An alternative plan that some have suggested is selling the property for maximum dollars which would mean thousands of high rise condos in this location. Our administration doesn’t believe either of these plans are in the best interest of all residents with regards to the potential we have in creating a citywide asset like SciTech city at this particular city site adjacent to liberty state park. While previous administrations would probably have sold this for short term gain we are trying to invest in a city asset, build a new school and a new science hub for generations of Jersey City residents to come.
Question: What will this mean to Ward F?
Answer: This will take vacant property and turn it into a $280 million dollar investment in Ward F (the largest ever) that will create permanent jobs, construction jobs, and define Bergen Lafayette as the home of the premier science center in the region. It will create a new public school and inspire generations of future leaders who will surrounded by some the sharpest minds in the world.
Question: Will any board member or affiliate be a developer of this project?