More Articles Click

Tensions Simmer in Harrison Over Red Bull Arena & Toxic Sludge Plant

Apr 15, 2024
Cobalt Lofts Harrison NJ Exterior Photo

Amidst the backdrop of modern apartment buildings in what is now a burgeoning residential community, Harrison, NJ residents are grappling with significant urban development issues. These concerns are currently focused on the ongoing traffic disruptions and being locked out of their neighborhood when there is an event at the Red Bull Arena and the controversial proposal to install a toxic dioxin-laden Agent Orange sludge plant on the nearby PSE&G property in their neighborhood.

Red Bull Arena Lock Down

The Red Bull Arena, which hosted 50 events last year, including a lot more than soccer matches, has become a central topic of discussion. Residents express mounting frustration over the traffic congestion that often locks them out of their neighborhood during events. In a series of posts on the Harrison NJ Resident Forum on Facebook, community members debated solutions to ease their access issues. Ideas such as vehicle stickers specifically for residents were proposed as potential remedies to prioritize local access over visiting spectators.

Toxic Sludge Processing Facility

Simultaneously, a heated debate is unfolding over the proposal to establish a toxic sludge processing facility across from residential areas along South Frank E. Rodgers Blvd, a site formerly zoned for industrial use but now a vibrant residential community. Critics argue that this plan reverses the vision of late Mayor Raymond McDonough and his then-Council, who championed the transformation of Harrison’s industrial zones into residential spaces. “Why has [the current] Mayor of Harrison James Fife and long-time Chairman of the Harrison Redevelopment Zone not opposed the Toxic Sludge plant?” one concerned citizen asked, highlighting a sense of betrayal.

The Wyldes Community Meeting

In response to these ongoing issues, the Harrison Police Department is set to conduct a meeting on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, with a 6 p.m. start time at The Wyldes Building located at 1100 So. 5th Street, focusing on improving access for residents during arena events. This meeting coincides with a Mayor & Council meeting, for which, as of now, no agenda has been posted on the Town of Harrison website, sparking further concerns about transparency and responsiveness from local authorities. The Wyldes Building meeting was not announced on the Town of Harrison's official website.  It is according to posts open to all residents of Harrison.

Locked Out Of Their Community

The community’s frustration is palpable, with residents recounting personal stories of inconvenience and disruption. “I remember one time; I got home late from a long day at work, 11 pm. The game was still going on, huge traffic mess, everything blocked off, and police wouldn’t let me turn to my apartment,” shared one resident, illustrating the disruptions faced by locals during Red Bull Arena events.

Residents express a mix of resignation and resolve. While some feel overwhelmed by the challenges, others are mobilizing to ensure their voices are heard. "Attend every meeting the council holds and bring it up every time, you will eventually get someone's attention," one poster encouraged.

A Call For Community Engagement

The community’s engagement through social media forums and public meetings highlights a collective urgency for solutions that balance development with residents' quality of life. With calls to action for increased participation in local governance, particularly at the upcoming Mayor & Council meeting.

Harrison residents are making their voices heard, advocating for a reevaluation of both the arena’s impact on local traffic and the proposed sludge plant’s potential health risks and further impact with dump truck traffic affecting health and quality of life in the community. The community is now a residential community and why anyone would support the placement of a toxic sludge plant in the new Harrison is perplexing and devastating to residents and stakeholders.

We value your input! Share your thoughts on our Community Discussion Board. Haven't joined yet? Sign up now for free and be part of the conversation!