JERSEY CITY -- Mayor Steve Fulop boasted about renewed real-estate development in Journal Square, pledged to add police walking posts and promised to repair his relationship with the group that runs the Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre in his second state of the city address tonight.
Fulop, speaking in the auditorium at School 7 on Laidlaw Avenue, said Journal Square's "long road to recovery" is coming to an end. Citing the three-tower Journal Squared project, where the first 53-story tower will begin welcoming residents this year, Fulop said Journal Square's "best years are right around the corner."
"From the top of the hill, the new Journal Square skyline will serve as a reminder that development in Jersey City is spreading west, and that our expansive skyline will soon rival that of any major city in the country," Fulop said.
Tonight was Fulop's second state of the city address, typically a single speech the mayor gives at the beginning of the year that Fulop this year turned into a tour of Jersey City's six wards. Tonight's event attracted about 200 people, including dozens of city employees.
Much of tonight's 30-minute speech was a rehash of citywide boasts and pledges Fulop made in his first address in Ward F on Feb. 7. The new additions were specific to Ward C, which includes Journal Square and parts of the Heights and McGinley Square.
Fulop referred twice to plans to turn a Hudson County Community College building into a city-owned museum that would be part of a planned arts district; pledged to replace the Pavonia Park playground this summer; and promised to assign more police officers to walking posts in Journal Square this spring.
One of Fulop's signature initiatives for Ward C, the renovation of the 88-year-old Loew's into a regional concert and entertainment hall, was halted after a breach-of-lease lawsuit filed by the Friends of the Loew's, the nonprofit that manages the city-owned theater. The city's loss in court led to an icy relationship between Fulop and FOL.
Tonight, Fulop said he will work with the group to embark on a new attempt to renovate the aging former movie palace, one in which he said FOL will be the "driving force."
"I know that we share the common goal of restoring this theater to the iconic community space it once was," he said.
Fulop is seeking a second term on Nov. 7, when the mayoralty and all nine City Council seats are up for grabs. When he first ran for mayor in 2013, he won Ward C handily, by nearly nine percentage points, but his council candidate lost to Rich Boggiano.
Boggiano has been an aggressive critic of Fulop, but he was subdued tonight, calling the address "a pretty good speech. Boggiano said he believes some of the mayor's pledges are the direct result the councilman's lobbying.
"Some of the things he talked about I've been fighting for for three years," Boggiano told The Jersey Journal.
Fulop's next state of the city speech is scheduled for Ward D, which includes most of the Heights, on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at School 28, 167 Hancock Ave.
Terrence T. McDonald may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @terrencemcd. Find The Jersey Journal on Facebook.
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