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EDITORIAL; Unanswered Questions
deterioration of the Krueger-Scott Mansion, a Newark historic
landmark, developed mainly as a result of many poor
decisions made by city bureaucrats and politicians. After researching the current state of affairs
of this building, we were left in the end, with many
responsible for awarding the contracts for the renovation work ? Were sealed
bids collected ? How were the $7,000,000. spent ? Why was a New York
librarian appointed to a job, with an $86,000. salary, as Director of
a cultural center before the building to house the center, was even completed
? Why wasn’t a feasibility study
commissioned before the renovation project started ? Why was an architectural firm with a
close affiliation to a former Mayor contracted ? And why was it done on a
non-bid basis ? Why did the city
approve paying a consultant $33,012. to promote the Krueger-Scott Mansion
restoration project in 1998, when that same consultant worked for Council member
Chaneyfield-Jenkins' 1998 re-election campaign (Star Ledger 08/19/98, p. 1,
‘Vendor’s Owed $40,000.’) ? And most important of all, why hasn’t the
city taken measures to prevent further deterioration to the building; windows
are left open, bay windows’ studs and woodwork are left exposed to the weather,
and no consistent security is to be found on site ? Why weren't contractors and
artisans courted for donation of services prior to the restoration process
being initiated, as many other successful projects in other cities have done ?
Why weren't cost containment priorities established early on ? Why, indeed
many years later; after Louise Scott’s daughter was evicted and foreclosed on;
after hundreds of Hill Manor residents were evicted and their building torn
down-- to enable the construction of single and duplex homes, and a
parking lot for the Krueger mansion; after the city dumped seven million dollars
to renovate a city historic landmark; it is now preparing to hand over
the property to a private developer (Star-Ledger 02/22/02, Housing Authority
Redevelopment Plan), who will turn it into a Jazz Club and Restaurant !
Neither the City's Economic Development office, nor the Business Administrator
will identify the developer, but both confirm ongoing negotiations.
the building will still make someone’s dream come true, but it won’t be the
African-Americans of this city who long ago were promised a cultural center, it
won’t be the residents of this city and this state who footed the restoration
bill and were robbed of their chance to salvage a historic monument, and it
certainly won’t be the children of this city who are continually exposed to the
consequences of mismanagement by city politicians paid six figure
salaries, who make cronyism a standard practice.
city-managed projects have proven to be money losers as well, like the
Riverfront Stadium; millions were spent, and the project is still losing
money. But the costs of these two
projects are a pittance compared to the three hundred million dollars about to
be spent on a hockey arena downtown, which again, is hip deep in politics.
Entertainment seems to be a priority in this
city, a city with thousands awaiting subsidized housing, a city
with the greatest percentage of urban poor and unemployed in this state, a city
with a failing school system, a city with some of the best paid public servants
in the country, who seem to hold entertainment as a top priority.
Makes one wonder, who’s running the show ?
EDITOR see the building -->
Posted September 13, 2004
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