STATE ECONOMIC RECOVERY BOARD FOR CAMDEN
October 28, 2003
At Camden City Hall-Council Chamber
MINUTES OF THE MEETING
Members of the Board present: State Treasurer, John E. McCormac, Chairman; Mayor Gwendolyn Faison; Chief Operating Officer Randy Primas; City Council President Angel Fuentes; Reverend J.C. Jones, Vice Chairman; Marge DellaVecchia for Commissioner Susan Bass Levin; and Public Members; William Hosey, Robert Milner, and Rodney Sadler.
Absent: Tonio Burgos representing Alfred Koeppe, Chairman of the NJ Economic Development Authority, Senator Wayne Bryant, Legislative Member; Freeholder Director Jeffrey Nash; and Assemblyman Joseph Roberts, Legislative Member.
Also Present: Caren Franzini, Chief Executive Officer of the EDA; Maureen Hassett, Assistant Director of the EDA; Preston Pinkett, Senior Vice President of the EDA; Anthony DeFelice, Deputy Attorney General; and EDA staff.
Chairman John McCormac called the meeting to order at 10:10 am.
In accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, Ms. Franzini announced that notice of this meeting has been sent to the Star Ledger, the Times, the Courier Post and the Philadelphia Inquirer at least 48 hours prior to the meeting, and that a meeting notice has been duly posted on the Secretary of State's bulletin board at the State House.
A quorum of the ERB Board was present.
Chairman McCormac asked for a motion to approve the September 30, 2003 minutes of the Board.
MOTION TO APPROVE: Mr. Primas SECOND: Mr. Sadler AYES: 9
Rosa Ramirez entered the meeting at 10:13 am.
MINUTES OF BOARD MEETING
Chairman McCormac introduced the Honorable Gwendolyn Faison, Mayor of the City of Camden. Mayor Faison welcomed the ERB and its guests. She also thanked the Board for its commitment to host all of the ERB Board meetings in the City of Camden.
Council President Angel Fuentes also welcomed the ERB and its guests to the City Council Chamber and commented on the wonderful murals, representing the "Past, Present, and Future".
Chairman McCormac requested Caren Franzini to summarize the recommendations for appointments to the ERB Board. Ms. Franzini noted the recommendation to nominate Rev. J.C. Jones for the Office of Vice Chair.
MOTION TO APPROVE: Mr. McCormac SECOND: Ms. Ramirez AYES: 10
Ms. Franzini noted the recommendation of Tonio Burgos to be nominated as Treasurer.
MOTION TO APPROVE: Mr. McCormac SECOND: Mr. Primas AYES: 10
Ms. Franzini noted the recommendations of Caren Franzini as Secretary, and Preston Pinkett and Maureen Hassett as Assistant Secretaries.
MOTION TO APPROVE: Mr. McCormac SECOND: Rev. Jones AYES: 10
Ms. Franzini noted the recommendations of Rosa Ramirez, Reverend J.C. Jones, and Council President Angel Fuentes as members of the newly created Policy Committee.
MOTION TO APPROVE: Mr. McCormac SECOND: Mr. Primas AYES: 10
Chairman McCormac congratulated Ms. Franzini on the professionalism of the Board meetings and how it has been such a pleasure to chair the ERB Board.
Ms. Franzini noted the recommendations of the Chairperson, the Chairperson of the Authority, the Commissioner of Community Affairs, and three other members appointed by the Chairperson for the Project Review Committee. The appointees are as follows: Rodney Sadler, William Hosey, and Mayor Faison.
MOTION TO APPROVE: Mr. Hosey SECOND: Mr. Primas AYES: 10
Rev. Jones asked that information on available parking for future Board meetings be provided to members prior to the Board meetings. Randy Primas, John McCormac, and Angel Fuentes commented on the groundbreakings that were taking place in the City and how the lack of parking was a good problem for the City due to the various redevelopment projects being implemented.
Mr. McCormac asked for a motion to accept the schedule of meetings for the Board Meeting and the Project Review Committee through September, 2004.
MOTION TO APPROVE: Mr. Primas SECOND: Mayor Faison AYES: 10
Rev. Jones asked about the schedule of meetings for the Policy Committee. Ms. Franzini mentioned that with the approval of the committee, Staff will draft a schedule for the committee. Ms. Franzini also noted that the schedule for all ERB meetings will be posted on www.CamdenERB.com.
Mr. McCormac asked that Ms. Franzini present the first project for Board approval. Ms. Franzini summarized the project being sponsored by the ABC Corporation and the Camden Redevelopment Agency (CRA) for the Terraces Project. Ms. DellaVecchia added that the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (HMFA), and the Camden Redevelopment Agency (CRA) are working collaboratively on the project. The CRA is taking the lead on the relocation of residents and acquisition of the site. Ms. DellaVecchia also noted that HMFA will provide 2 full-time staff members, to be located in Camden, so that the project implementation skills are transferred to the local CRA staff. Also, Ms. DellaVecchia stated that it is good for City residents that its local agency (CRA) take the lead.
MOTION TO APPROVE: Mr. Primas SECOND: Mr. Hosey AYES: 10
Ms. Franzini presented the second project to the Board for approval. She summarized the Cooper's Ferry Development Association, Inc. (CFDA) Yorkship Square Neighborhood improvement project.
Mr. Primas commented that he supports this worthwhile project. Further, Mr. Primas stated that the City should not only execute a license agreement with CFDA to arrange these neighborhood improvements, but also should designate the CFDA to serve as the City's Project Manager for this project and possibly other development projects throughout the City. Mr. Primas noted CFDA's project accomplishments elsewhere in the City and its proven capacity to manage such projects on behalf of the City.
Mayor Faison seconded Mr. Primas' remarks and added that a previous meeting had been held with her office regarding CFDA serving as the Project Manager for this proejct.
Angel Fuentes noted that all CFDA employees are City residents and that they do a good job staffing the organization.
Rev. Jones commended CFDA for involving Camden residents in this project.
Angel Fuentes left the meeting at 10:30 am to represent the City at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Camden County College building.
MOTION TO APPROVE: Mr. Primas SECOND: Mr. Sadler AYES: 10
Mr. McCormac requested updates from various agencies on projects in the City of Camden. Ms. DellaVecchia noted that three (3) tax credit projects were approved; DCA and CRA are working collaboratively; the demolition on Arlington Street is continuing; and there are several ongoing demolitions throughout the City.
Mr. Primas commented that the ERB approved the $53 million ERB grant to the Lady of Lourdes project at last month's meeting and that the groundbreaking was last Friday, October 24, 2003. He noted that the event was great and was a sign that the City is being improved.
Mayor Faison noted Mr. Primas' leadership and that they work well as partners. Ms. Faison requested to be informed of all projects in the City of Camden. Ms. Faison supports economic development and wants to be aware of all plans put on the table so that she can provide timely information and answers to residents she interacts with throughout the City.
Chairman McCormac noted that a One-Stop Career Center is being opened at Rutgers-Camden, through the Department of Labor. The Center will offer training programs to Camden residents. Mr. McCormac mentioned that a couple of weeks ago he visited the Victor Building and it is phenomenal and encouraged others to visit the renovated building with luxury apartments. Lastly, Mr. McCormac commented that on October 29, 2003 the State will pick six (6) projects for the School Demonstration Project, one (1) of which will be in Camden. Randy Primas added that the new Camden County Building had a ribbon-cutting ceremony as well as the Leap School Building.
Caren Franzini noted that Stables Restaurant was approved for EDA funding and encouraged support for the restaurant. Ms. Franzini also referred to the spreadsheet listing various State projects being funded in Camden. Ms. DellaVecchia commented that DCA has committed $59 million in non-ERB funding for Camden projects.
Chairman McCormac requested public comments. Mr. Samuel Benson, a resident of North Camden, asked about the status of the Community Advisory Council and called for greater involvement of the public, specifically small businesses, in the work of the ERB as well as jobs for City residents. Mayor Faison, Mr. Sadler, and Mr. Primas responded to Mr. Benson indicating that the residents have been involved in the process and that more will be done to inform the public of the progress that is being made in the City. In addition, the Mayor is working with the State Department of Labor to assist in the training and job placement of City residents. Mr. McCormac stated that Ms. Franzini would get back to Mr. Benson regarding the Community Advisory Committee.
Mr. Frank Fulbrook, President of the Cooper-Grant Neighborhood Association inquired about the status of the application for ERB funding for the Pennrose Properties, Inc. housing project. Ms. Franzini stated that the application is currently being reviewed by staff, DCA, and HMFA and is moving forward for consideration.
Ms. Franzini noted that the next ERB Board meeting will be at the Walt Whitman Arts Center on November 25, 2003 at 10am.
Chairman McCormac noted that the Mayor's sister passed away on Sunday, October 26, 2003 and that funeral services will be held on Saturday, November 1, 2003.
There being no further business, on a motion by Mr. Primas, and seconded by Mr. Sadler, the meeting was adjourned at 10:50am.
Certification: The foregoing and attachments represent a true and complete summary of the actions taken by the State Economic Recovery Board for the City of Camden at its meeting.
S. Franzini, Executive Director, EDA
Asst. Secretary, ERB