Saturday, November 12, 2005

Lakewood Day Laborers

Rolling out the red carpet for them:

A.P.P.:

An idea to turn a parking lot between Clifton Avenue and Route 9 into a publicly-funded muster zone may become a reality before New Year's Day."If we can get the approval for funding, I'm hoping at least by the end of the year," Mayor Charles Cunliffe said in an interview after Thursday night's committee meeting.
The plan to keep day laborers from lining up along Clifton Avenue — the main thoroughfare of Lakewood's downtown shopping district — would create an official gathering site for the would-be workers in the municipal parking lot between First and Second streets and between Route 9 and Clifton Avenue.
The proposal comes as Freehold — the Shore region's flash point for muster zone issues — remains embroiled in a federal lawsuit over its decision two years ago to shut down its zone between the railroad tracks and Throckmorton Street.
Retired state Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. O'Hern, the mediator in the case, said the judge recently told the parties to continue mediation until at least December."The parties have made a great deal of progress and we are continuing to work on a possible solution to some, if not all, of the claims and concerns in the case," O'Hern said.
Lakewood's muster zone plan was to be publicly unveiled at a Township Committee meeting earlier this month, but that presentation has been delayed as the township works out regulatory and funding issues with the New Jersey Commerce and Economic Growth Commission, which oversees the state's Urban Enterprise Zone program.
The parking lot is in the designated UEZ area. Russell K. Corby, executive director of Lakewood Development Corp., which oversees Lakewood's UEZ, said he had no timeline for when the issues could be resolved.The problem in Lakewood is merchants' complaints that men waiting for work can impede pedestrian traffic, intimidate customers and give the downtown a poor public image."...
"Every morning when I come to work, there's always some guys standing down the block," Goodman said. "They're very courteous. They don't intimidate."
Cunliffe has seen the other side of the story.He and his wife found it "challenging" earlier this year to get into Dina's Dinettes & Leather, a furniture store on the corner of Second Street and Clifton Avenue.That corner is often crowded with men standing around, going in and out of several music shops. When asked, many say they are looking for work."We actually had to say, "Excuse me, pardon me,' " Cunliffe said.
Stories like that are why Charles Anthony, who runs the nonprofit Under His Wing Inc., proposed to morph a portion of the parking lot just east of Taylor's Pharmacy at Second Street and Route 9 into a sanctioned gathering place for day laborers.
Anthony's plan would have security at the parking lot from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., two portable bathrooms and at least two employees to run the site's daily registration and traffic flow. The price tag is about $80,000."He's got a good idea," Cunliffe said. "If we can get the approval for funding."
posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 6:12 PM

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