PROGRESS REPORT • BAYONNE COMMUNITY NEWS • MARCH 18, 2012 • 2
Better than expected Bayonne shows areas of progress for 2012 By Al Sullivan Reporter staff writer
o one is saying things are as good in 2012 as they were in 2006 when the real estate values were at the highest level in history and the city still saw promise of residential development at the former Military Ocean Terminal – but many see Bayonne as coming out of
a downturn, and that there are distinct areas of progress. With the opening of Bayonne Crossing Mall and the upcoming construction of several residential developments, the city appears to be building on its successes. Bayonne’s central shopping district remains a concern, but local officials believe that with some creative thinking, mall stores and Broadway shops can coexist profitably.
The Off Track Wagering facility designated to be located near East Fifth Street on Route 440 seems to have found life again, promising even more economic benefits. The long-planned medical zone for the city saw the opening of several offices this year and stirring of life for key projects that are before the Planning Board. Bayonne Medical Center, which is the lifeblood of those plans, seems to be getting stronger every day after its near death in 2008. While local schools face some serious challenges, all seem to be finding ways to provide a better education and to improve their resources. Read on for more specifics in each of these areas of economic growth.
Business advancing in Bayonne Slow but steady growth in a challenging economy By Al Sullivan Reporter staff writer
everal significant changes are set to occur in the business life of Bayonne in 2012. For one, the Bayonne Chamber of Commerce, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, is moving ahead with ambitious plans to increase its membership and serve as an additional force for promotion of local business. In the past, the chamber was a strong advocate for larger businesses in the city, especially those associated with heavy industry. Now it has become an advocate for small businesses and service industries. But perhaps the most significant change in this city’s business life will be the expected absorption of the Special Improvement District (SID) by the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) due to take place at the end of June. Both of these business districts in town will now be overseen by the same agency. Both the UEZ and SID are state-designated business districts that get funding to use to improve the districts. A UEZ is also allowed to charge a lower state sales tax (3.5 percent instead of 7 percent) to lure customers to urban areas. The SID, operated under the Town Management Corporation, was dissolved by the City Council to downsize government and combine similar services. It will now fall under the umbrella of the UEZ. Over the last two years, the UEZ has also absorbed other services, such as the city’s office of economic development. While it is unclear what approach the SID will take after June – whether it will continue its schedule of promotions or go in another direction – many in city government believe the SID will remain a vital force for promotion of economic development and job growth in the city.
Bayonne Crossing mall is a success By far, the largest boon to local business in the last year has been the filling out of Bayonne Crossing Mall, which is expected to be fully occupied by early spring. The mall, according to City Chief Financial Officer Terrence Malloy, has created nearly 1,000 jobs and recaptured a significant amount of local dollars that would have gone to malls outside the city. With the opening of New York Sports Club and Walmart at the end of 2011, the mall has become a magnet for shoppers from other cities as well, Malloy said. TGI Fridays, Longhorn Steakhouse and other food establishments at Bayonne
Crossing have been instant successes, yet they have not taken away business from eateries at the South Cove Mall just up the highway, such as Houlihan’s. Malloy said each has developed its own clientele and South Cove is helped significantly by the nearby movie theater. In conjunction with this is development of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority’s Off-Track Wagering Facility. The two-story, 35,000-square-foot building with a party room and restaurant is expected to break ground at a site on Route 440 North at the Fifth Street interchange. The facility will include a restaurant and could generate a combination of 100 full and part-time jobs, including OTW staff, security, maintenance, and food service. A slightly smaller facility operating in Woodbridge, N.J. currently sees $2 million wagered weekly.
Malls vs. Broadway? One of the concerns that many people have is the impact places like Walmart will have on the traditional shopping district along Broadway, a concern that Malloy can be viewed in a number of ways. Town Center Management Corporation, for years, has been promoting the concept of niche marketing for Broadway, which means the establishment of stores that will provide services and goods that are unique and against which mall stores can not easily compete. “This is not new for Bayonne,” Malloy said last week. “Historically, Bayonne’s shopping district has offered services of this kind. In past, we were very strong in jewelry stores, and while you might not like them, dollar stores seem to be doing well.” He said the idea is to bring in quality restaurants and other establishments that will service people in town as well as draw customers in from out of town. Recently, Robert Benecke, a consultant for Town Center Management Corporation, encouraged the redevelopment of Broadway to include residential rather than office space above existing retail stores, something Malloy agrees with. “This creates our own economic base,” he said. “Stores below can service people who live in the neighborhood.” Pedestrians going to and from the four stations for the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line are also a market that local retailers can tap, by tailoring their offerings to commuter needs.
Niche stores on the rise Malloy said the success of a business often has a lot to do with the vision of the business owner and how plans are devel-
PROGESSING SLOWLY – While still struggling, Bayonne seems to be following the national pattern in making a slow recovery after a terrible downturn in the economy. oped, and often does not correlate to the overall economic situation. “You have businesses that fail in good times, and businesses that succeed in bad times,” he said, pointing to a number of local businesses that have thrived in recent years despite the terrible overall economy. “If you look where Little Food Café is located (on Kennedy Boulevard) you’d have to wonder how they succeeded. It’s off the beaten track and in an area where there is difficult parking, and yet they offer food that is not expensive and ambiance people want.” Town Center Management Corporation said many new businesses have opened or relocated in its zone between 17th and 30th streets over the last year, including Eyes R Us, Teamwork Wireless, Kings and Queens Shoe Store, Riverside Pediatric & Medical Group, Brescia & Migliaccio Obstetrics & Gynecology, Conference Center of New Jersey, Broadway Pediatric Center, Max 5 Start Furniture (two stores), Exotic Hair, Intrigue Hair, Clover Gift Shop, Tae Kerek Tae Kwon Do, Maria’s Pizza, Mi Lindo Veracrus II, Heralife, and Villa Maria. Dr. Chludzinski’s medical office and K&D Jewelry & Gifts had reopening during that same period. Outside the SID, the city saw other new or upgraded stores such as the recently opened GoodFella’s Pizzeria. Recently 40th Street Florist reopened as Family Florist after completing renovations. Malloy said places such as Andrews Café uptown, Al Richards Chocolates, and KupKake Kouture have all created niches with which the malls cannot compete.
Medical Mecca still viable Bayonne’s Broadway corridor and other areas have already attracted medical services, which also have a spillover effect, not just on to local pharmacies, but also other businesses that benefit from people who need to purchase something on their way home. Still waiting to move ahead is the 120bed nursing home facility on Broadway,
adjacent to Bayonne Medical Center on East 29th St. The $25 million project is proposed by Omni Healthcare of New Jersey, which owns and operates similar facilities in Union City, West New York, Jersey City, and Secaucus. The project is expected to generate almost $500,000 additional property taxes as well as more than 200 jobs, not including construction jobs. The project is expected to take 18 to 20 months to complete. Other medical projects in the pipeline include one by RDA Realty for a 40,000 square foot medical office building on the site of the former Holiday Tree and Trim on Broadway near 40th Street. The former executive director of Bayonne Medical Center said a 50,000 square foot medical office building proposed for Avenue E is still being developed.
The UEZ has done a lot The UEZ, Malloy said, despite being defunded by the administration of Christopher Christie, still offers great incentives to local businesses, providing them with sales tax breaks on capital improvements and incentives for customers by offering a lower sales tax. The local UEZ, he said, has met one of its principle objectives by creating jobs. Despite the current downturn in the economy and a 9 percent local and state unemployment level, the UEZ created 906 jobs last year and is expected to create 545 over the next 12 months, he said. Businesses in the UEZ have reinvested in the community, doing more than $600 million in capital improvements last year and a projected $900 million in the next 12 months. This includes some larger projects such as the Crossing Mall and the Bayonne Energy Center, but Malloy said the strength of Bayonne’s business economy remains “mom-and-pop” stores. “Will they have to do business differently then they have in the past?” Malloy asked. “Certainly. But we’re seeing that many of them already are adapting and that is very healthy for Bayonne.”
Six local hospitals live to see another day By Al Sullivan Reporter staff writer
ver the last five years, hospitals in Hudson County have struggled to survive, partly as the result of changes made by the federal government and insurance companies in the early 1980s to help curb the skyrocketing costs of healthcare, and partly because of increased competition for basic services by smaller clinics. Year by year, local hospitals slowly starved for financing, as reimbursement from insurance companies and Charity Care could not keep up with the actual expenditures hospitals made. Hospitals in Bayonne and Hoboken began to bleed money, the loss of resources coming at such a rapid rate that most thought they would close. In both cases, local government intervened with financial support until each hospital could find a buyer. But other hospitals were not far behind, particular Christ Hospital in Jersey City, which a report issued by the state of New Jersey in 2008 identified as one of the hospitals that might close. Most of the issues plaguing hospitals, this 2008 report said, were beyond the facilities’ control, and many could not afford to modernize their facilities. A series of desperate and strategic moves helped save many of the hospitals. The owners of Jersey City Medical Center, which seemed to be struggling, managed to downsize, selling off their other facility – Meadowlands Hospital in Secaucus – to private owners. The former St. Mary Hospital in Hoboken was saved from closing by strong support from the city of Hoboken, and under a new name, Hoboken University Medical Center, was ultimately sold to private owners as well. Bayonne Hospital was also sold to private owners. These changes did not come without criticism. The private owners of Bayonne and Hoboken’s hospitals canceled many insurance companies’ contracts in order to renegotiate reimbursement rates. In the meantime, people with those insurances were forced to find other facilities or risk paying high out-of-network rates for care. Three hospitals in the county remain non-profit: Palisades in North Bergen, Christ in Jersey City, and Jersey City Medical Center. The owners of Christ are hoping to find a private buyer. All six of the county’s hospitals are finding new services to offer and other ways to stay competitive.
Bayonne Medical Center According to Dr. Mark Spektor, CEO of Bayonne Medical Center, hospitals have to become leaner and more efficient, focusing on the areas they have the resources to handle and diverting patients to other hospitals when needed. For instance, Bayonne Medical Center has expanded its emergency room, but shut the doors on services like those for maternity since there were not enough patients to justify keeping the departments open. “Traditionally, we have been a center for cancer diagnosis and treatment,” Dr. Spektor said. “We will continue in that role. We have also focused on treatment for vascular and pulmonary, and those programs we are continuing.” Spektor said Hoboken University Medical Center, located in a city with a significantly
higher rate of births, will likely become a birthing center. These changes, Spektor said, will allow both hospitals to draw from a wider area than just the towns they are located in. “Why should people have to go out of the county or the state to get treatment they need when they can find it here?” he said. The 120-year-old Bayonne Medical Center, according to former CEO Dan Kane, has made significant investments in heart and cancer treatment, and recently rededicated its cancer treatment center with a $5 million investment in diagnostic and treatment equipment. Although the owners have spent more money on new equipment since taking over in 2008, the hospital had been leaning more towards performing diagnostic treatment procedures for more than a decade, with new management reevaluating its strengths and enhancing them. The results were almost immediate. The hospital showed a profit within a year of the new ownership and continued profits since. Part of this has come as a result of cooperative agreements between various entities that allowed the hospital to restore some services lost prior to the new ownership. The new ownership brought in new equipment such as the CAT and PET scanners, as well as upgrading those departments.
Hoboken University Medical Center Despite its fiscal woes over the last few years, the 328-bed Hoboken University Medical Center is New Jersey’s oldest continuing hospital. Founded in 1863 by Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, St. Mary Hospital treated wounded soldiers from the Civil War. Then later, it was a treatment center for incoming wounded from Europe during World War I. In 2007, the city stepped in to help keep it open. The hospital continued to build on its services and expanded its emergency department. Last year, the hospital was sold to HoldCo, which also owns Bayonne Medical Center. Chief Executive Officer Phil Schaengold told the Hoboken Reporter earlier this year that it will enhance its labor delivery services as well as improvements to its cardiovascular services. The hospital is in the process of installing a new catheterization lab which will help patients with chest pains, and plans are underway to fortify its orthopedic unit. The new owners have promised to invest $20 million in the hospital, just as they did in Bayonne Medical Center after taking ownership there.
Christ Hospital Although in a fiscal crisis currently, Christ Hospital has always had a number of significant strengths, including a viable emergency room and advanced technology in oncology and cardiac services. Christ offers a broad range of services, from primary angioplasty for cardiac patients to intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for those battling cancer. The medical staff at Christ Hospital includes over 500 physicians, most of whom are board-certified in specialties ranging from allergies to vascular surgery. Caught in a whirlwind of events over the last decade, Christ Hospital attempted to
Bayonne Medical Center has expanded its emergency room. fortify its economic position through a number of cooperative agreements with other hospitals such as the former St. Mary Hospital in Hoboken. Over the last decade, the hospital made significant investments in its surgery unit, especially same-day surgery facilities. It also invested over that period in its cardiac services.
Palisades Medical Center Palisades Medical Center, an affiliate of Columbia Presbyterian in New York, is actually expanding. Located in North Bergen, the hospital announced plans recently to build a new on-campus 56,000square-foot facility to provide ambulatory care services, including day surgery. The latest innovation will include some medical office space. The new facility is being co-developed by AMB Development Group and Duke Realty. One strength of Palisade Medical Center is partnerships with other quality medical institutions to provide expanded services that are not usual for a stand-alone hospital, and to provide a higher-quality pool of physicians. Each year, the medical center seems to unveil a new initiative that focuses on the needs of the Hudson County population, whether it is a pain relief center or a sleep center. Several years ago, they expanded their emergency room and guaranteed that patients would be treated in a matter of minutes, not hours, via their Rapid Evaluation Unit. Still a non-profit hospital, Palisades is still in-network with many of the state’s insurance providers. The existing site features a 202-bed hospital on the waterfront, as well as The Harborage, a 245-bed nursing home and rehabilitation center. The hospital has more than 1,300 employees and an annual operating budget of approximately $150 million.
Jersey City Medical Center For Jersey City Medical Center, a 361bed acute care facility on Grand Street in Jersey City, downsizing has made it stronger. The closing of Greenville Hospital and the sale of Meadowlands Hospital has stopped some of the fiscal bleeding that it has undergone over the last few years. Jersey City Medical Center has several
significant strengths that it can build on over the next few years. First of all, its relocation into a new facility less than a decade ago removed the prospect of maintaining the 1930s-era, unmanageable facility in which it was formerly housed. But the hospital’s great strength is it ambulance corps and its status as the county’s trauma center – which brings in patients from around Hudson County. The campus presently includes two facilities, the Wilzig Hospital and the Provident Bank Ambulatory Center. The hospital serves as a regional referral and teaching hospital and provides service for women and infants, trauma, and cardiac patients. The medical center is a major teaching affiliate of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. Although it recently canceled its contract with Aetna (they say they are still negotiating), Jersey City Medical Center still honors most insurance providers, and earned some significant distinctions over the last decade, including a state authorized hospital for open heart surgery, and has been aligned with other facilities through the LibertyHealth System. Like Palisades Medical Center, JCMC is expected to grow stronger as the other hospitals become for profit, drawing on that body of patients whose insurance plans they still accept.
Meadowlands Hospital When originally opened as Riverside Hospital in Secaucus in 1976, the 250-bed Meadowlands Hospital was the first forprofit hospital in the state. In 1994, when the hospital was purchased by LibertyHealth, it became a notfor-profit hospital. In 1986, it was renamed Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center to reflect its growing importance in the region. Meadowlands was purchased by the newly-formed and little known limited liability corporation MHA in 2010 to once more operate as a privately-owned facility. Operating as a for-profit hospital, Meadowlands has been able to reinvest in some critical infrastructure, and has budgeted more than $20 million towards a new Interventional Radiology Suit. It recently renovated its emergency room, increased the number of beds in the ER, and has spent $5 million for two new MRI machines. The hospital is also developing an advanced brain trauma center and is on track to become one of only two facilities in the country capable of handing certain kinds of head trauma cases.
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Not yet terminal
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Building on solid foundations Challenging times make schools focus on basics By Al Sullivan Reporter staff writer ike all other aspects of the local economy, schools are struggling to make ends meet. This means they have to be more creative with the resources they have and find new ways to get the things they need. This comes at a time when the principals at Marist High School and Holy Family Academy are just getting their feet wet after taking over their posts last year. Meanwhile, Bayonne public schools are in the middle of negotiations with their teachers, who have not had a contract for a year and half – one more challenge in dealing with a school district where many of the schools are nearly 100 years old.
Increasing costs and student populations The Bayonne School District received $2.8 million in state aid for the upcoming school year, similar to what it received last year. The problem is that state officials in 2008 said Bayonne should be getting $5.5 million in state aid. So this year and last year, they operated with a $2 million shortfall. There were other problems. Solar power credits that the school generated through its banks of rooftop solar panels plunged in value last year and for the current year. “We used to get $685 per credit. Last year, we got $185,” Schools Business
Administrator Leo Smith said recently. “That’s $1 million lost in the revenue stream.” Employee health care costs rose. The school also had to replace textbooks, and brought on a new math teaching service to help the district meet core curriculum standards. These are the reasons the district asked the Bayonne Board of School Estimate to approve a 2 percent increase this year, or about $1.4 million. Smith said the district faces some serious challenges that include an increasing school population and aging buildings in need of repair. “The average age of our school buildings is 80 years,” Smith said. “We need to repair roofs and we have very few playgrounds. These are major investments.” Schools Superintendent Dr. Patricia McGeehan said instead of fixing leaking roofs, the school district is repairing the damage and painting those rooms most affected – a cheaper alternative the district can pursue without having the funding to do the roof repairs. Classroom populations are at a breaking point, Smith said, noting that the district saw an increase of 200 students. A recent count of the district’s pre-school program estimates that over the next two years, Bayonne schools will see an increase of 1,300 students. “That’s 650 students per year,” Smith said. “Our high school graduates about 500 students each year, so that is a net gain of 150
DOING WELL – Holy Family Academy is determined to remain open, and is launching a campaign to counter rumors. each year. At $13,000 per student, we’re talking a $6.5 million increase.” While the district saw 27 teachers retiring last year, this year the district had to hire 72 new teachers to handle classroom populations. “Yes, the new teachers make less than the old teachers, but we’re still paying out more,” Smith said. One hopeful sign for the future is the state’s ability to get a wavier on some requirements on the federal No Child Left Behind Act that may let districts like Bayonne avoid some of the more onerous requirements. But this may be changed by plans from Gov. Christopher Christie to redefine the criteria for which students qualify as being in poverty, which could reduce the district’s state aid even more. Although not listed as “a district in need” as is nearby Jersey City, Bayonne, under the current criteria, has 61 percent of its student population listed on free or reduced lunch – which is the criteria for poverty. “Many of these kids wouldn’t have a meal if they didn’t get it at school,” Dr. McGeehan said.
New assessments under the Federal Race for the Top Program also promise to increase costs to the district, as well as increase assessment testing. To accommodate these needs, the district will likely have to find even additional funds. Over the years, the school district has brought on a number of additional tools, such as establishing of literacy and math coaches, technology teams, data teams, tracking individual student progress from kindergarten through 12, and the installation of smart boards into classrooms. Technology, while costly, also provides an avenue for savings. For instance, instead of buying new textbooks, the school district could buy programs that would be updated regularly. Recently, the district invested in iPads for the autistic program. “We would like to do this for all our kids,” said McGeehan. The new Juliet Street facility for repairing school vehicles has the promise of helping
see EDUCATION page 6
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Better times for local real estate Market improving but new housing stock is needed By Al Sullivan Reporter staff writer
hile Hoboken and downtown Jersey City have rebounded from the recession, Bayonne numbers, while not what they were in the past, have also improved. Sales and values of homes peaked in 2004, then went into a deep trough out of which they began to climb this year, according to Weichert Realtors’ local office. In 2005, 459 homes were sold in Bayonne. Last year that number was 243. The average sale price for a home in Bayonne reached a high of almost $391,000 in 2007. Last year the average sale price was $265,000. During the peak of sales in 2005, the average time on the market for a house was 62 days; in 2011, the average was 128 days, more than double. While these numbers appear to be poor, new statistics show signs of improvement in various areas. Michael Bernescu, office manager for Weichert Realtors in Bayonne, said the prices of homes are at an all-time low. So are interest rates, and banks are starting to sell mortgages again. “It’s a trifecta,” he said. “It is a good time to buy.” But while Bayonne is one of the most stable communities in the area, with good schools and safe streets, he said, the problem is the supply of housing stock. With residential development at the former Military Ocean Terminal of Bayonne (MOTBY) either off the table or delayed indefinitely, Bayonne needs new strategies for upgrading its aging housing stock, most of which was constructed prior to World War II.
While real estate prospects have improved since the sharp decline in the market three years ago, long-term prospects depend on the city’s ability to construct new, modern, and more energy efficient housing. Bayonne, according to Robert Benecke, an economic consultant, is three decades behind Hoboken and downtown Jersey City, in redevelopment, and a significant part of the city’s future economic growth depends upon Bayonne playing catchup.
An opportunity missed at Military Terminal Proposed development for the MOTBY, under a residential option proposed in a redevelopment plan established in 2003-2004, would have done much to allow the city to build thousands of new residential units, making it competitive with the hottest markets in the county, said Bernescu. But the need to raise money to plug a municipal budget shortfall prompted the sale of a significant portion of the MOTBY to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for use as a container port. That derailed the plan for residential construction there, forcing residents to look elsewhere for more contemporary housing. Bernescu said the City of Bayonne missed a great opportunity to provide new housing to residents and others at the MOTBY that would have allowed the rest of the city to modernize, too.
The generational factor “Bayonne has a history of being a safe place to live with good schools, but many children [of
COMING BACK – The real estate market is improving in Bayonne, but newer, more modern housing needs to be built. parents who grew up in Bayonne] looking for homes may be pushed to seek them outside of Bayonne if the city can’t refresh its housing stock with more modern homes,” Bernescu said. He said people could have moved out of their older housing into condos on the MOTBY, and sold or rebuilt on their old property, thus upgrading properties in the older sections of town. The problem for Bayonne is that it is no longer the blue-collar town it once was. Manufacturing has moved out, and that the next generation is looking for different, more modern housing that simply doesn’t exist in Bayonne. So kids who grow up here often have to look outside of town for the kind of housing they need and want.
The future Benecke, in his recent study of Bayonne economics, suggested that one solution to both housing and boosting of Broadway businesses is to build residential housing above businesses in a kind of “transit village” concept. Mary Divock, executive director of Town Management Corporation, which oversees a large portion of the Bayonne business district, said this has already started with the two floors above Dunkin Donuts at 545 Broadway. They
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offset costs in several areas. The facility, which is a converted factory, also provides a new kitchen that will cook meals not only for the school district, but also for the city’s Meals on Wheels program. The school district and the city have several cooperative programs, including use of the fuel facility at the central garage where the district can fill up its vehicles from buying in bulk. The district and city also cooperate in snow removal, sharing equipment where necessary. One of the latest innovations this year is the school district’s global connect program, which is a kind of reverse 911 that allows the district to call each parent when there is an issue of importance. The school district also has a parent portal, which allows parents to check on their children’s progress or look at report cards online.
Marist is in good hands Slightly more than a year after officially taking over as principal at Marist High School, Alice Miesnik said the school has continued the progress it has been making over the last few years. Miesnik, who served as assistant principal of Marist High School since 1997, took over as acting principal when the former principal took ill. She said people seem content with how the transition has gone. “We’re even turning the corner in enrollment despite the tough economy,” she said. Part of the attraction of the school, she said, is the safe environment it provides, and the innovative programs the school has implemented. Over the few years, the school has expanded its technology, providing for distance learning – something school officials have been fine-tuning in order to provide their students with access to the classes they need
GROWING – Marist High School is seeing an increase in enrollment despite the tough economy. and want. Study in medical service has been one of great interest over the last few years. Over the last year, Marist developed a classroom and a program called MedQuest designed to help students get hands-on experience with various medical fields. A Catholic college preparatory co-education school, it generally has a population of around 500 students each year in grades 9 through 12. All graduating students are accepted into college, Miesnik said. The school is currently moving ahead with its summer A Plus Program, a three-week long program for kids in grades six through eight. The school is also partnering with Dance With Me, a dance school in Bayonne. “The summer program introduces the school to students who may later want to enroll in Marist,” she said. Miesnik said this year, the Parents Association has really taken off, providing yet one more way for the school to connect with the community. Among some of this group’s efforts is their ability to reach out to kids and communicate with incoming freshman.
The school also implemented an Individual Education Plan for each student, and a gifted and talented program that explores a wide range of student abilities. This year, the school has two very talented coaches – Ron Hayward in baseball and Dwayne Williams in football. Alice DeFazio is an already well-known and well-respected coach in basketball. The school also is bolstering its arts program, planning a performance of “Guys and Dolls” for the spring. Miesnik said she sees Marist as the best kept secret in local education, and one she hopes to make less of a secret over the next year.
HFA is here to stay Dispelling rumors has given Holy Family Academy – an all girls’ Catholic high school in Bayonne – a theme this year, said Principal Mary Tremitiedi, who said reports of the school’s closing its doors are simply wrong. Halfway through her second year as principal at HFA, Tremitiedi has found firm footing
were converted from office space into 14 vibrant luxury apartments by Yakov and Mitchell Burakovsky. Also the second floor of the building at 549-555 Broadway has been converted by the Burakovskys into six apartments, and all have been rented. The second and third floors of 463 Broadway have just been completed and rehabilitated into two six-room apartments by Robert Dwek. “These residencies above retail space create pedestrian traffic and vibrancy to Broadway,” she said. Bayonne has three new residential projects about to get underway, an affordable rental housing building near the 45th Street station of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, a luxury condo redevelopment at the former Maidenform factory on Avenue E near the 22nd Street light rail station, and the former Waterford luxury rental project near the Bayonne Bridge on Kennedy Boulevard. Bernescu said the city needs to push ahead with more projects, perhaps revisiting some residential development for the rest of the MOTBY in order to counter increased competition from Jersey City. That city has pursued a new, modern development near the northern border of Bayonne on Route 440.
in her post. A retired administrative assistant to the superintendent of Hoboken schools and former principal, she took over the reins of the school just before the start of the 20102011 school year. She said parents and staff were very supportive, and the school has been very active in studies and in public events, such as the recent fashion show the school put on. One of the goals the school’s Board of Trustees gave to Tremitiedi was to continue what many considered an extremely successful educational program – which she appears to have done. But the school has also continued to improve its sports and other programs as well, and has drawn in more students – some even from Staten Island, where they are issued MetroCards to get from their homes to the bus over the Bayonne Bridge to the school in Bayonne. One of the real boosts to the school came this year when Ellen Marino came to HFA from her stint at St. Peter’s School in Staten Island. Marino has introduced a film study program to the school, something that seems to have inspired students. The school also hired Tam Nguyen, formerly senior scientific assistant at the Museum of Natural History. She is teaching biology at HFA. The opening of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station at Eighth Street in Bayonne seems to have improved the overall transportation network for students, she said. The station has also allowed the school to offer more field trips to the Liberty Science Center, sites in New York City, and elsewhere. “We have a college trip planned for this year,” she said. Next year, the school is planning two trips – one in fall and another in spring – both to outof-state colleges. “We are a high achieving school with close parental contributions,” she said. “We stress community service.”
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