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Mayor's Message

Periodic messages from Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich
 

Mayor's Message - Fall/Winter 2017

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Mayor Mark SokolichHey Fort Lee, we are on our way...

Never before in our 113-year history have we ever welcomed more businesses into our community, especially eating establishments. The cuisine offered in our local eateries now spans the globe...from Turkish kebabs to Korean galbi, from Italian pasta dishes to Chinese dumplings and everything in between - we now have it all! Stay tuned, Fort Lee will soon announce the beginning of construction of a new highly acclaimed restaurant to be located between The Modern high-rises, featuring dining al fresco surrounded by a new 1.7 acre park with water features. The days of empty sidewalks and limited business patrons are over; each and every day hundreds of folks visit our business districts, especially Main Street.

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Mayor's Message - Summer 2017

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Mayor Mark SokolichSummer is here and Fort Lee is ready!!!!  Summer is a time to relax a bit, spend time with family and friends and enjoy the outdoors.

Summer in Fort Lee is a special time of year because of the many activities and events that we offer......from our Summer Youth Camp to our ever-popular “Movies & Music Under the Stars” to our Antique Car Shows to our New “Fringe Festival.....there is something to do almost every night and weekend!!!!!  Our outdoor concerts at the Jack Alter Community Center are absolutely second to none!!!

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Mayor's Message - Spring 2017

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Mayor Mark SokolichThere are many characteristics that make our community very, very special. While Fort Lee continues to aggressively progress into the new millennium by creating new and exciting redevelopment districts, improving our public schools and placing a priority on quality-of-life issues for our residents, we also take very seriously our responsibility to provide for those who need our help and assistance. In my view, this is one of government’s most important mandates.

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Mayor's Message - Winter 2016-2017

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Mayor Mark SokolichThere is so much to do here in Fort Lee and its government's job to communicate with each and every one of our residents so that everyone has an opportunity to participate in our many activities, programs, and events. From our 5K Diabetes Run and Health Fair to our incredible Holiday Tree Lighting and Main Street Art Festival, Fort Lee has become the "place to be" in northern New Jersey. As Mayor it is very frustrating to hear one of our residents say "I wish I knew about that, I would have attended" or "when was that event, I am sorry I missed it".  In an effort to "get the word out" and make sure all of our residents are aware of what's going on here in Fort Lee, there are a few new and exciting initiatives that we have put into place to make sure no one is ever left out and which are available at no cost to all of our residents.

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Mayor's Message - Fall 2016

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Mayor Mark SokolichThe past several weeks have been historic for our Borough...after over 50 years of remaining patient, our new state-of -the-art redevelopment has opened to the public.  The iPic Theaters and our first farm to table restaurant known as City Perch has opened with well deserved fanfare.  These openings represent only the beginning as the next several weeks will see many other grand openings including a variety of other restaurants, an exercise and wellness studio and well over 100,000 square feet of new and exciting retail uses for the entire community to enjoy.  Coinciding with these new openings is our new 1-acre passive park located at the corner of Main Street and Lemoine Avenue which is now open to the public and has free public Wi-Fi for all to enjoy.  Our new retail district, called Hudson Lights, also boasts luxury apartments with on-site parking for those residents that enjoy the conveniences of retail at their fingertips.

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Mayor's Corner - Summer 2016 Edition

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Mayor Mark SokolichFort Lee is nothing without volunteers. At no time in her 112th year history has Fort Lee had more volunteers serving on more boards and committees than the present time. From our Planning Board to our Environmental Commission, from our multiple youth sports programs to our Business District Alliance, Fort Lee boasts well over 100 volunteers who truly serve as the spirit of our community. Over the past 8 years, Fort Lee has progressed into one of the most envied communities in northern New Jersey, which in large part is attributable to the folks that give their time and devote great effort to our many committees, commissions and boards.

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Mayor's Message - Winter 2017-2018

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Mayor Mark SokolichAs Mayor of the town that gave birth to the American film industry I feel a special need to involve myself and our borough in the work to reintroduce a tax credit for film & TV production in this state. For the past eight years Governor Chris Christie has withdrawn this tax credit and refused to sign legislation to reintroduce the tax credit. His administration provided tax credits for every industry under the sun except the one born here, film.

Fort Lee, from 1907 through World War One, was the first American film town and the center of film production in the United States. Our town gave birth to such studios as Universal (1912), Fox (1915) and the first studio built and operated by a woman, Solax (1915). By 1915 we had 17 operating studios in our borough and everyone in Fort Lee worked for the motion picture business. Though we lost this industry by 1925 to California, we did have a thriving film storage industry and movie and TV production companies returned to the state to produce programs and films. Though we will never be a film center as we once were, we here in Fort Lee can fight to bring back a tax credit that, if constructed carefully and if aggressive enough, can bring back major TV and film production to the Garden State that would economically benefit the entire state. Thanks to the efforts of the Fort Lee Film Commission, Fort Lee has seen much TV and film production until 2008 when the tax credit expired. NBC used Fort Lee as a location for many episodes of the hit show Law & Order Special Victims Unit, so much so that a house on Abbott Boulevard was used as one of the main characters homes. Borough businesses were the recipients of tens of thousands of dollars via rentals of their properties or use of their restaurants to feed crews. We need to bring that commercial activity back to Fort Lee and the entire state. Again, if this tax credit is aggressive enough, not only can we bring back production but we can have major studio facilities operating in NJ to benefit the state economically. Also, this state is home to 14,000 film and TV Union members and most of them work in New York and are paying New York income taxes so a move to bring them back to NJ would mean that those income taxes would flow to the state of NJ instead of New York.

I took part in a symposium at the Landmark Loew's Theater in Jersey City this past September that opened my eyes to the benefits of film and TV production. Industry professionals outlined their vision as to how to make this happen. I am working with our state representative, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, on pending legislation to revive the tax credit and to make it aggressive to compete with both New York City and Philadelphia. If done properly, this tax credit will not bring production back just to the northern areas of the state but would benefit many of our southern counties in and around Atlantic City. And with some sense of leadership on this issue we can discuss the potential of studio space in the Meadowlands, perhaps in the shuttered Izod Center. Before Hollywood, there was Fort Lee and it is up to us in Fort Lee to support this tax credit.

 
 
 
 

Borough of Fort Lee, New Jersey
Borough Hall • 309 Main Street • Fort Lee, NJ 07024
201-592-3500

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