Council to Consider Changing Name of Martha Washington Way, at Developer's Request

Mayor and Council discuss developer's request to chang name of Martha Washington Way to Park Avenue.

A discussion was held during the Mayor and Council's work session Thursday regarding the request by Fort Lee Redevlopement Associates to consider renaming Martha Washington Way to Park Avenue. According to Mayor Mark Sokolich, the biggest reason for requesting the name change is for marketing purposes.  

The roughly eight-acre “East parcel” is the land upon which SJP, in partnership with Prudential Real Estate Investors, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Bergen County attorney James Demetrakis and investment firm Palisades Financial, plans to build two 47-story glass towers with 900 luxury rental apartments called “The Modern,” along with a public park, water features, a 7,000-square-foot restaurant with indoor and open-air dining and a refreshment kiosk, among other amenities.

SJP will also develop a 13,000-square-foot building it will donate to the borough to house a public theater and a public museum.

Understanding that Fort Lee school children had named Martha Washington Way in a contest held under Mayor Jack Alter's administration, Sokolich said that he is trying to balance that sense of history with the roughly $500 million investment the developer is making in Fort Lee.

"I'm not dismissing the history of the name," Sokolich said. "But I want to balance that with the investment of the development."

Sokolich said that in exchange for renaming the street to Park Avenue, the developer has offered to name the two-acre park he is giving back to the town Washington Park and will place markers throughout that will emphasize the rich history of Fort Lee.

According to Sokolich, the developer said that he would also potentially name the movie theater that they are building on the property after Washington.

This issue was first brought up by the Mayor and Council in April 2012. However, it was agreed that the issue be held off until the developer broke ground.

Now that ground has been broken, the topic is back on the table.

No action was taken at this time, but will be discussed during the regular public meeting.

The next meeting of the Mayor and Council will be on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 7 pm in the Council Chambers of Borough Hall.


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Ashley Bozzetti February 08, 2013 at 12:38 PM
That's disgusting! A child won an essay contest and as a reward got to name that street, to take that away is terrible. She earned the right to name that street and it's sad how corrupt this town is that the flash of a few thousands of dollars will make the leaders of this town lose sight of and let go of some of the purest, simplest, most wholesome aspects that still remain in this ever growing city.
The Thorn February 08, 2013 at 01:15 PM
We'll see if said developer gives a substational "donation" to the Democratic party to have it his way.
Howard L. Pearl February 08, 2013 at 01:56 PM
From one boring name to a more boring name. Where is originality when we need it. But on a scale of one to ten, this hardly rates as important news.
Keith Jensen February 08, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Greetings from Breckenridge.Nothing like a morning breakfast and checking on things back home. This is an entertaining story to read while everyone rallies for the mountains. Thanks PATCH. I find it odd, then again given Mayor Sokolich and Council made that promise I should not be surprised, that two years ago they would vote on a resolution like other towns have: Tenafly, Saddle Brook, Fair Lawn, Northvale, the Ramsey Mayor and Council and many others which simply tells Trenton that our taxes are being spent poorly on our schools. The net result would lower our taxes by 1/3rd and bring $26Million a year back for our Fort Lee Schools. http://fortlee.patch.com/articles/fort-lee-republican-state-assembly-candidate-pushes-for-fair-school-funding Instead, they are using the threat of eminent domain to tear down properties when everyone in town was absent. Here is my op-ed in case you missed it: http://fortlee.patch.com/articles/fort-lee-gop-starts-petition-to-stop-acquisition-of-main-street-property One caveat is that before I published it and after it went to press I asked to meet with Mayor Sokolich, but messages were not returned, so it is just my side of the story. Instead, of looking out for the schools and residents they are discussing more ways to benefit the developer (90+votes in the below story): http://fortlee.patch.com/articles/borough-may-change-martha-washington-way-to-park-avenue http://fortlee.patch.com/articles/how-about-park-place-instead-of-park-avenue
Marge Teilhaber February 08, 2013 at 06:48 PM
What's so good about Park Avenue? Everyone knows it's not "the" Park Avenue so it's a little stupid. Leave it alone!
Bob Greene February 08, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Fort Lee already has a Parker Avenue (one block from Martha Washington Way) and a Park Place. From a practical viewpoint, creating a Park Avenue could add confusion for people seeking directions. Martha Washington Way should have been named Palisade Avenue, as it is an extension of that street. Fort Lee chose otherwise, and once the choice of Martha Washington Way was made, it should remain that way. Consider the effect of a name change on existing maps and GPS systems. (Of course, Fort Lee has renamed streets in the past to satisfy narrow constituencies. For example, Monument Place (which runs along Monument Park) was renamed Angioletti Place some years back to commemorate a doctor whose office is nearby.)
Fort Lee Truth February 08, 2013 at 09:06 PM
In the "old" days of Fort Lee, this never would have happened as enough folks would have complained. This "investment of the "develpment" is just that.....an investment for Demetrakis, Sokolich, etc. This is not an "investment" for the residents of Fort Lee. @Keith, You didn't get a return call from the Mayor because you are not one of the folks who contributed to his campaign.
Thomas A Bennett February 09, 2013 at 12:47 PM
I am sitting on my couch in Fort Lauderdale, concerned about the storm and my family in Fort Lee and now this. Part of the reason I ran for office is these career Politicians cowtow to the big money guys and not the people. When I ran they told m that Red Light Cameras were a dead issue. What's next? Red Light Cameras in certain areas? It is not only about Democrat or Republican any more, its about what is the right thing. The Politicians are slowly removing our history for dollars and its not right. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
Valery J Kulakov February 11, 2013 at 09:44 AM
What an ugly, disgusting and un-American proposition. It seems that sometimes fellows back in America are loosing one marble after another. the ugliest of it the guy promises to give a "donation". Why not just to give a donation unconditionally? Valery J Kulakov SSN Holder, BERLIN, GERMANY russica-book-and-art.com
John Pullins III February 17, 2013 at 03:46 PM
This is a disturbing example of how this nation has begun its gradual decline from former greatness. The fundamental principles upon which our country was founded are fleeting before us, as is clearly demonstrated by this idea of changing a street name and removing its reference to our cultural heritage. I fear that if we continue down this path away from our modest beginning in favor of following a street paved with gold, will the children living on this "Park Avenue" even know who Martha Washington was...or George Washington? Our nation will simply have no future so what to name a street will be irrelevant. I support capitalism, but not at the expense of selling out our heritage. The mayor and council are there to protect the town, not profit from it.


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