Letters: Future “college town” needs funding

By College Democrats

Princeton is just one example of a university that offers a friendly “college town” to its students. (Wikimedia.org).
Princeton is just one example of a university that offers a friendly “college town” to its students. (Wikimedia.org).

In October of 2008, New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-20) and his fellow Senate Democrats introduced the “New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act of 2009.” It was subsequently passed through the Legislature and signed into law by former Gov. Jon Corzine in July of last year.

Contained within this very important bill is a set of provisions that allows public higher education institutions to enter into public-private partnerships with developers to build new facilities and buildings that suit the needs of the particular college. As detailed on the front page of The Signal last week, the College is in the design and review stage of the “Campus Town Project” which would provide the College with a much needed town-center type area for students. Currently, the plan appears to include retail space for shops and eateries of all sorts, as well as residential space for student housing. This is what students have been asking for and so the College listened and is now taking advantage of this law that allows it to become a reality. However, the law expires 19 months after it was signed on July 28th. This means that the College is up against the clock to find a developer who will partner with our institution to create a campus town with the correct combination of retail and residential space that will allow for worthwhile profits.

However, there is excellent news. Senator Lesniak has introduced another bill, S.920, which, among other things, extends the deadline for submission of these projects to the NJ Economic Development Authority to 31 months. While we should have the utmost confidence in our institutions’ ability to get this project through in a timely manner, we all also know that projects of this magnitude take time. That is why we are calling on all the College students to support Senate Bill S.920 which is being voted within the upcoming days, so that the College will have the highest probability of approval for its campus town project.

Further, this bills’ passage will allow for Montclair State University to build much needed dorm space and dining facilities to house and feed its overflowing population. Every one of us must contact our legislators and tell them to vote “yes” on S.920 so that we can all play a huge role in making our college and a college where many of us have friends who attend, even more vibrant and exciting places.

Sources: njleg.state.nj.us