To the Editor:
Editor's Note: The following is an open letter sent to "Friends of Princeton Rep Shakespeare Festival."
We want to thank each of you for your many calls and e-mails regarding our 2005 Summer Season. We deeply appreciate your past and present support and your attendance at our productions. Please accept our apologies for not getting back to you sooner.
In response to your numerous inquiries, we have decided to give you an update on the delay in our scheduling. At this time, we are in continuing negotiations, which began in March, with the Joint Princeton Recreation Board (the municipal entity of Princeton Borough and Township which oversees the use of Pettoranello Gardens Amphitheatre at Community Park North), the Princeton Recreation Department, and Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand. As of last week, an accommodation was made regarding this summer's scheduling conflicts. Unfortunately, as of this date, a key critical issue remains unresolved.
Please continue to check our website, www.princeton rep.org, for updates and additional show information. We are hoping to continue to bring you quality professional productions of Shakespeare's plays under the stars in our traditional venue since 2000 ‹ Pettoranello Gardens Amphitheatre.
Princeton Rep Shakespeare Festival is one of only seven free, outdoor, professional Shakespeare festivals remaining in the United States. And it's right here in Central Jersey!
We will e-mail you again with additional information as soon as we have it. Thank you again for your patience and invaluable support. We look forward to seeing you this summer.
To the Editor:
The Borough's struggle to effectively manage its budget is leading to a serious reduction in critical services, most pointedly that of public safety. The proposal to permanently reduce the size of the police force by two officers through attrition is both unfair and potentially dangerous.
The Borough police, unlike their counterparts in surrounding semi-rural communities like the Township, meet the everyday challenges similar to those experienced in most small cities across the country. In terms of competence, professionalism, and friendliness, the Borough's police force ranks with the best. From 1998 to 2003, the addition of new officers resulted in a 19.8 percent reduction in crime; in 2004 when the attrition policy was adopted, this number reversed itself.
We are now facing a situation where this manpower shortage is putting considerable stress on the remaining members of the force. The increase in workload results in a reduction in the amount of discretionary time that an officer has for writing reports, processing arrested persons, and answering calls for service. Community policing programs and patrols, popular in Princeton with residents and business owners, will be significantly scaled back, leaving an enormous vacuum in overall municipal safety, not to mention public perception.
One of the primary reasons a family makes a choice to live or shop in a town like Princeton is because of the community's commitment to public safety. Most families who decide to live here or operate a business here are willing to accept high rates of taxation because they know there is a corresponding level of service. Now we are looking at the service dissipating while taxes continue to increase.
The position is made even more confusing to business owners when you consider the bureaucracy that holds up projects like Hulfish North, which could bring in millions in rateables into the Borough coffers. Shouldn't the Borough focus on increasing its tax base? Why cut vital services when all the Council needs to do is assign priority to projects that will help solve the budget problem? Why put our families and businesses at risk when the solution to maintaining services, like police staffing levels, could be waiting for approval at the planning office?
It is my understanding that in January Hulfish North received unanimous conceptual approval from the planning board, but since then the project has been bogged down in bureaucratic delays and questionable scheduling conflicts.
Isn't it the responsibility of the Borough to protect its residential and commercial taxpayers, not penalize them for the municipal government's lack of initiative in opening the way to new sources of revenue? These are challenging times for merchants. Why make things even tougher for us with unnecessary service cuts when a positive solution like Hulfish North is within our reach?
To the Editor:
In 2002 we put our names on the list to purchase a residential unit at the proposed development on Palmer Square. Periodically we call the Palmer Square office to get an update on when the units will be completed. We always receive the same answer, which is in about eighteen months to two years following final approvals by the planning board. So naturally we ask when will final approvals occur, and we are told that plans are still under review and no dates have been set for a hearing.
Following the January 2005 conceptual hearing we were somewhat encouraged when the planning board gave their "thumbs up," but once again this project has been stalled by what appears to be a ridiculously long, overly bureaucratic review period.
Anyone driving along Paul Robeson Place knows that this project needs to be underway. The current site, with or without the garden and the Writers' Block, has been an eyesore since the early 1990s. The new development must provide the municipality with a significant increase in rateables to help them with their budget problems. And businesses in the Borough will benefit from all the new residents and increased activity.
Why put this project on the back burner when it should be a top priority?!
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