McGreevey lauds Pompidou losing NJEDA support, O’Dea says funds best for parks


Former Gov. Jim McGreevey and Hudson County Commissioner Bill O’Dea (D-2), two rivals in next year’s Jersey City mayoral contest, are offering their views in light of the state pulling funding for the Centre Pompidou project.

The Pathside Building in Journal Square was going to house the Pompidou Centre. Photo courtesy of the City of Jersey City.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“I fully support the state’s decision to no longer financially support the Pompidou museum, and I call on the City of Jersey City to terminate the project immediately,” McGreevey, who came out against the project last month after the NJEDA expressed concerns about the project, said in a statement.

“Common sense dictates that we return to basic functions and focus upon the priorities of Jersey City residents. The Pompidou museum is an unnecessary and costly expense to the City, which will ultimately have to be funded by Jersey City taxpayers. The city must not further jeopardize its already vulnerable financial position.”

He added that without any state funding, the project would cost approximately $262.8 million over the next five years.

“The city must return to the fulfilling basic functions of municipal government and focus upon the direct needs of Jersey City residents and families,” McGreevey concluded.

In the case of O’Dea, he said that the state should invest a significant portion of the millions of dollars previously allocated to the Pompidou to improving various city parks.

“I am calling on the state to allocate the $24 million funds that were set aside for the Pompidou museum to be used for our city parks like Country Village, Pershing field and Caven point field and Pershing Field,” O’Dea said in a statement, indicating that upgrades are planned, but the funding hasn’t been secured yet.

“By investing in our parks, we can improve the quality of life for all Jersey City residents and create a more vibrant and sustainable city. Now more than ever in a post-Covid world this is critical I urge the state to prioritize the needs of our community and allocate these funds to support our parks. I call on all our state legislators to demand this also. The funds were set aside for Jersey City and it would be an injustice if they were taken away from Jersey City.”

In two separate letters written on Saturday, two state officials indicated that the NJEDA would be pulling their funding for the Pompidou, which was also influenced by the state legislature not including the proposed Jersey City art museum in the state budget.

Back in April when the NJEDA questioned the $19 million budget shortfall for the Journal Square project, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said this was Gov. Phil Murphy (D) targeting him for rescinding his endorsement of First Lady Tammy Murphy.

Instead of backing the governor’s wife, Fulop threw his support behind U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3) in the U.S. Senate race (she dropped out a week later).

The city doubled down on this sentiment on Sunday, with city spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione stating in part:

“As we said earlier this year, absolutely nothing changed in this project from what the Governor and First Lady knew initially and what they reference now, and there is plenty of documentation to support our point. The only thing that changed is the politics in New Jersey and the First Lady’s failed candidacy.”

With Fulop seeking the Democratic nomination for governor next June rather than running for a fourth term as mayor, O’Dea and McGreevey are currently in a four-person field for what will be a vacant seat.

Also joining them in the non-partisan November 4th contest are Council President Joyce Watterman and former Board of Education President Mussab Ali.

Ward E Councilman James Solomon and Hudson County Commissioner Jerry Walker (D-3), currently a 10th District congressional candidate, are also widely believed to be considering entering the municipal melee for mayor.

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