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Hamilton Street Board To Township: Send Us More Police

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The Hamilton Street Advisory Board will ask the township for more police officers to patrol the business district.


Saying that the assignment of two police officers to the Hamilton Street Business District has been a success, the advisory board charged with shepherding the district’s rejuvenation will ask the township to beef up the police presence.

Board chairman Pat Gianotto is expected to put the request in writing to township manager Robert Vornlocker. Vornlocker would then pass the request on to the appropriate Township Council subcommittees, most likely those dealing with public safety and finance.

Any request would likely have to be dealt with in next year’s township budget.

The matter was broached by board member Timothy Kelly, who also heads the board’s public safety committee. Kelly told Township Councilman James Vassanella (D-Ward 5), one of the council liaisons to the board, that the interest in redeveloping parts of the business district would wane if the area is not made safer.

There are currently two large mixed-use redevelopment projects for the district before township planners, a third mixed-use project has already been approved.

Vassanella said he supported the groups’ request, but that he is “one vote on the council.”

Vassanella suggested that group representatives attend a council meeting and speak about the need for more police in the district.

Gianotto said that would put board members in a “Catch 22,” because they would have to speak about the crime in the district at the same time they are trying to attract new business there.

It was then decided that the board would make its request through the council’s sub-committees.

Board member Vincent Pecce told Vassanella that because part of the district falls in Wards covered by Vassanella and Councilman Carl R.A. Wright (D-Ward 4), “it’s up to you two guys to do something.”

Referencing the planned apartments projects, Pecce said that if the township waits until the projects are finished “and someone gets assaulted,” you’re going to have a problem renting them out.”

“For the past 10 years, we’ve been talking about the safety down there,” Gianotto added. “We still fell this is a major issue.”

Gianotto said he has heard nothing but praise for the two police officers who regularly patrol the business district.

“Can you imagine if we had five more down there?” Pecce asked.

“We’re finally getting something going down there, we don’t want to blow it,” Kelly said.

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