Eight Jersey City officials paid a visit to Paris this week to meet with partners about the proposed Centre Pompidou project that would require collaboration between the two cities.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Paris and Jersey City officials and experts covered important decision-making topics ranging from the schematic design of the Pathside building to the featured collections and acquisitions of masterpieces for the Jersey City location,” said city spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione, who also noted the trip was not taxpayer-funded but did not get into specifics.
The trip itinerary, which was provided following an inquiry from HCV, indicated that Mayor Steven Fulop, Council President Joyce Watterman, and Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey were the elected officials who traveled to the capital of France.
Joining them were Jersey City Free Public Library Assistant Director Kate Davis, Cultural Affairs Director Christine Goodman, Jersey City Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Diana Jeffrey, Department of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce Director Annisia Cialone, and Business Administrator John Metro.
Wallace-Scalcione added that all council members will be invited to make the trip at some point, noting that Prinz-Arey is the council liaison to the Pompidou project and sits on the Arts and Culture Trust Fund Committee.
The Jersey City Times made mention of the trip and most of the attendees last night.
Fulop arrived on Monday at 7:25 a.m., while everyone else arrived at about the same time on Saturday. All eight officials then departed early yesterday morning, the itinerary shows.
On Saturday, they visited the Louvre and then the Jeu de Paume museum, which they felt was an important stop because the building is similar to the Pathside in Jersey City, which will require a $15 million renovation to house the Centre Pompidou.
In 2018, the Fulop Administration acquired the Pathside building, a 58,000 square-foot structure at 25 Journal Square, for $10 million.
On Sunday, the group took a tour of the Centre Pompidou-Metz, which included an “overview of relevant current programming.”
Then after the mayor arrived on Monday, there was a discussion and short presentation about the inaugural presentation for the Centre Pompidou x Jersey City, which is scheduled to open in 2024 and has not revealed a public budget yet.
They then also visited galleries, workshops, and studios, as well as their gift shops.
Jersey City would be Centre Pompidou’s only North American partnership and has other satellite operations in Brussels, Belgium and Shanghai, China.
Finally, on Sunday, the Jersey City team had a tour of Pompidou exhibits, while Fulop was also introduced to French Ambassador to the U.S. Laurent Bili.
Fulop, Gov. Phil Murphy (D), and Tammy Murphy announced the project in June 2021, with the Jersey City Council approving a preliminary memorandum of understanding a couple weeks later, with only then Councilman-at-Large Rolando Lavarro voting no, calling it a “vanity project.”
Around the same time, the New Jersey legislature approved the state budget, which had a $24 million allocation for the Centre Pompidou.
“This will be an excellent investment for both Jersey City and our state at large by contributing to the existing rich cultural diversity that we are known for and attracting innovators, thinkers, and artists,” Murphy’s office said at the time.
The project did not receive much public attention in 2022, though there was at least one trip to Paris by Jersey City officials in the fall.