Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Candidates in Agreement on Support for Hinchliffe

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Candidates in Agreement on Support for Hinchliffe

Article excerpt

Editor's note: This is one of a series of stories about the policy positions of candidates in Paterson's May election for City Council seats in the city's six wards. The responses are in the candidates' own words. Responses may have been trimmed to conserve space.

PATERSON -- Neither candidate running for the 6th Ward City Council seat has ruled out the possibility he would support borrowing money to renovate Hinchliffe Stadium, positions that contrast with strong assertions made by candidates running in three other wards.

Incumbent Andre Sayegh said residents alone cannot bear the costs of the stadium project. His challenger, Al Abdelaziz, said any proposed bonding must be scrutinized. Both of them said the city should seek revenue from other sources to help pay for the Hinchliffe initiative.

The comments from the 6th Ward candidates run counter to remarks by candidates running in the 3rd, 4th and 5th wards, who said there was no way they could support borrowing money for the project.

Abdelaziz has been endorsed by Mayor Joey Torres, who previously has said that bonding was part of his financial plan for Hinchliffe. Sayegh has been a staunch opponent of Torres' fiscal policies.

Closed for nearly 20 years, Hinchliffe is a national landmark because of its status as one of few ballparks still standing from the segregated Negro baseball leagues of the 20th century. Consultants have told the city that renovations could cost as much as $44 million.

Paterson Press: Administration officials have said the city may borrow money to pay for the next phase of the renovation of Hinchliffe Stadium. Would you support that?

Abdelaziz: Hinchliffe Stadium is one of Paterson's landmarks, and part of our city's culture. It has been neglected for some time, but could be renovated and refurbished for local use and, most importantly, tourism. Any renovation of Hinchliffe Stadium should be part of our larger effort to attract tourism and economic growth throughout the city -- including the Great Falls National Park, the Paterson Museum, the old mills, as well as the vibrant South Paterson business district in the 6th Ward.

As the Planning Board vice chairman, I have been a leader in the efforts to recharge the 6th Ward with economic growth through responsible development in areas like South Paterson, with new restaurants, shops, and other attractions being built. …

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