The vote to award the Cypreco contract for installation of the fence, trails, and lighting in the Reservoir, Resolution 20-637 passed last night 7-1. We are deeply disappointed. If you would like to see the results you may check the minutes here. If you would like to see each representative's reasoning behind each vote, the video of the meeting can be found here.
Our representative's speech (text below) can be found at 3:17:00
Other citizens' statements regarding the Resolution can be found at 3:01:15 (Jeanne Daly), 3:25:45 (Cynthia Hadjiyannis), 3:33:40 (Mary Beth Botts), 3:44:10 (Zeenat Insaf), 4:08:52 (John Frohling)
Vote on Resolution 20-637 at 4:23:06
Moving forward, we will continue in the best way we can to protect the site and ensure any and all changes made to it are universally accessible, archaeologically sensitive, and environmentally sustainable.
We were assured that there would be a public meeting and are working to schedule this now. We will update as soon as we have a confirmed date (we have asked to avoid the High Holy Days, so do not worry if you are about to disconnect from the internet soon).
Thank you to all who have advocated for us this week. We were honored to hear so many speakers come out at the City Council Meeting in favor of our request to delay the vote until a public meeting could be held.
Please read below for a copy of the statement made last night by Board Member Sarah Burroughs:
Good evening Council Members, thank you for this time to speak. I am a resident of Ward C, the current Secretary of the Board for the Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance, and its incoming President. Tonight I am speaking for the Alliance. As we have worked towards the goal of preservation and public access to Reservoir #3 since our founding in 2005, one would expect us to be ecstatic that work on the fencing and trails is going to a vote in Resolution 20-637, but we are asking for postponement.
At the Caucus it was claimed that this particular project has been underway for four years. This is untrue. It was not until our advocacy in the summer and fall of 2018 that the current administration began working with us towards rehabilitation of Reservoir #3, and it was not until fall 2019 that the grants funding the projects in question tonight were awarded. It is also untrue that we have been meeting weekly and receiving satisfactory details regarding the anticipated work and plans for the Reservoir. We have only been invited to 2 last minute calls since fall 2019 and have felt largely unacknowledged.
We have tried for months to work proactively with the City to ensure that the project moved swiftly, smoothly, and without the need for reactive advocacy such as we have been forced to make this week. Only since today have the majority of the recent documents we requested been made available on Open Data, meaning that we have spent our efforts up till now working with inaccurate and outdated documents. Due to the time and skill it takes to understand these documents, we are asking for a postponement of the vote of this Resolution so that we, City Council, and the public may inspect them and have them explained by the professionals involved in a public feedback session.
Our hope is that this is merely confusion caused by a lack of transparency and the up-to-date plan will prove satisfactory, in which case the delay would be extremely minimal. If there are aspects of the plan that could and should be changed following public feedback, would that not be beneficial to all parties involved? In either case, to award a contract tonight is premature. We are demanding the following before our City Council Representatives vote on Resolution 20-637:
(1) The remaining relevant documents be uploaded to Open Data- this includes not only Phase I but any existing plans for future phases
(2) Provide one or more public presentations with advanced notice and opportunity for feedback of
the Archaeological Assessment conclusions
the Environmental Assessment results and recommendations
the design by the architect(s) of the pedestrian trail and perimeter fence installation
Only then should this Resolution be put to vote. Anything else is irresponsible and puts the site at risk as well as taxpayer dollars. Thank you for your time. I yield my remaining.