Belleville Seeking Bids to Develop School Property

Township Council approves accepting proposals to possibly build condominiums or apartments on property at Rutgers Street that is being used for school storage.

The Belleville Township Council has agreed to accept requests for proposals to develop a square block of property used for school storage at Cortland and Rutgers Streets.

The council agreed to accept proposals until Sept. 27 to redevelop the property.

There was a discussion whether the School No. 1 property could be used for new condominiums or apartments.

Councilman Michael Nicosia told concerned residents in May that the plan only allows residential housing as one possibility, and that it allows the council to negotiate for storage area and recreational space, among many possibilities, in any new development at the site.

Residents and township council members have clashed about whether to redevelop the land, to convert the property for use as recreation space or to repair the school and surrounding property for various school uses, including recreation.

In May, the council voted 7 to 0 to pass a redevelopment plan for the nearly one square city block of property.

Residents Vincent Frantantoni, David Harris and Phyllis Frantantoni said Tuesday night that the property should used for recreation.

“State officials have all said that these types of redevelopment just transfer tax dollars to developers, attorneys and consultants,” Vincent Frantantoni said Tuesday night. “This is a repairable building, just like Town Hall was.”

The plan allows for dense residential use, but council officials have been quick to point out the plan gives the governing body the greatest number of options for the property.

Several residents have also spoken of the need to retain the school property for possible use by the Board of Education, if the school population increases in the future.

The redevelopment plan would allow for more than 30 housing units, and residents complained that there would not be enough parking if the council agreed to allow residential housing.

Harris said, “There is nothing for kids to do after school and on the weekends. There are sports programs which are great and free, but there are not enough facilities for kids.”

Phyllis Frantantoni agreed, saying, “We should not give up space that we need for kids just to build more housing units.”

Vincent Frantantoni said again Tuesday that the School No. 1 building has been victimized by intentional neglect, has historical value and is needed for school storage.


john reese August 16, 2012 at 12:46 PM
well i believe that if it is going to made made for residential purposes then it shopuld be a senior citizen housing.there is not 1 single place in this town for seniors and those on disability who can not afford the rising rents here.my rent has went up due to the town raising taxes all the time.and if the building is used for recreation then it should include a water park for the kids for the summer.our kids now have to go to other towns to enjoy a water park to cool off in the heat.i know there is a water park in belleville but it is only for camp kids and not for the public which to me is not fair.
Nelson Barrera August 16, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Again I vote and stand by the suggested recreation facility. Belleville Boys and Girls Club would be ideal!!!!!!!!!
Belleville Sentinel August 18, 2012 at 09:10 PM
The reason why the School #1 property will be given to properly connected developers (and not renovated for recreational/education purposes) is because the Township is counting on one-time revenue influx to deal with current budget crises and avoid the dangerous local political consequences of having to layoff Township employees and curtail municipal services. And unless the economy undergoes a miraculous recovery in the very near future, there will be increasing pressure to sell off other Township holdings for these same cited reasons.
Jeff Mattingly August 19, 2012 at 06:06 PM
You are all right but, unfortunately, everyone dances around the underlying cause of our problems. Too many high paid, do little work with little accountability jobs at the top. Why do the towns police and fire chief's make as much as the governor??? Because the council votes for it. Why do we have mutiple layers of deputy and battalion chiefs, captains, leutenants mainly making well over 100K a year with gold plated healthcare and extremely generous retirement packages??? Because the council votes for it! So when we talk about immediate needs and long term plans, your right, they are only looking to get through this years budget and will do/sell whatever they have to to get there as things slowly get worse.


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