Newark Council to Vote on Contracts Involving New Police and Fire Academy

687 715 Bergen Street Newark Police Academy
Newark is planning a new police academy on the site of the former Bergen Street School and William H. Brown Academy. Image via Google Maps.

Plans by the City of Newark to create a new training facility for police officers and firefighters as part of a deal with the developer of a separate project across town could soon advance.

The Newark Municipal Council is scheduled to vote on Wednesday, December 16 on two proposed ordinances involving the Bergen Street Police and Fire Training Academy that were introduced earlier this month.

The academy is slated to come to 687-689, 691, 693, and 695-715 Bergen Street and 158, 160, 162, and 164 Chadwick Avenue near the Newark Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) headquarters in Clinton Hill. The site includes the old Bergen Street School and William H. Brown Academy property.

One of the proposed ordinances calls for authorizing a contract with the Newark Board of Education in order to acquire the aforementioned properties as part of the project while the other would authorize a contract for the sale of those lots for $10 to Brandywine Acquisition & Development, LLC, according to public notices.

As Jersey Digs first reported in May, Brandywine is the developer involved in the project with close to 1,000 residential units that could come to the Peddlers’ Square properties near Newark Broad Street Station. It was revealed at the time that the existing DPS facilities at the Peddlers’ Square site could be relocated to the proposed academy as part of a redevelopment deal with the company.

The notices state that Brandywine was designated as the redeveloper of the academy parcels back in May and that the City of Newark executed a “sale/leaseback agreement” with the firm in September.

The Newark Housing Authority is reportedly expected to convey its portion of the Bergen Street site to the Board of Education, the latter of which would then sell the premises to the municipal government for $1.95 million.

However, “the property acquisition will be financed by and conveyed to Brandywine as the redeveloper … for the development of the academy,” according to a notice, which adds that “the City has determined that the proposed Contract for Purchase of Real Estate is beneficial by ensuring the necessary properties are acquired for the expeditious development of the City’s new academy.”

These proposed ordinances along with the agenda for the December 16 meeting would typically be found within Newark’s online Legislative Research Center, but the service has been largely inaccessible for more than two weeks.

In response to questions from Jersey Digs earlier this month, City Clerk Kenneth Louis said that while agendas would be moved to the municipal website, “we were forced to shut down most of our online services in order to fix them to comply with recent State legislation.” Louis cited the new Daniel’s Law, adding that “at this point I cannot say when it [the Legislative Research Center] will be reopened but it will be a while.”

Note to readers: The dates that matters are scheduled to be discussed by the Newark Municipal Council and other governing bodies are subject to change.



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