Mayor Jimmy Davis announced that the City of Bayonne is working on plans to remove the feral cat colony from behind the former A & P site, which is near 7th Street and Newark Bay. Under a developing concept, the cats would be housed in a new facility that will be built at Halecky-IMTT Park on Bayonne’s East Side. Mayor Davis said, “An estimated forty cats live by Newark Bay behind the former A & P. The presence of the cats there has created a variety of health problems. By working with several agencies, volunteers, and local businesses, we have come up with a workable solution.”
In the cat colony’s current waterfront location by Newark Bay, a variety of problems have developed in recent years. These issues include the accumulation of garbage, the presence of other wildlife, maintenance in the area, and the health and welfare of the cats. Mayor Davis said, “We need to go in a new direction. We want to discourage people from dumping cats behind the old A & P. We have been working on policies that will encourage a healthier situation and better maintenance for the cats.”
At a meeting at City Hall on June 14, Business Administrator Joe DeMarco brought together various City officials with representatives of business, the Boy Scouts, and friends of animals. DeMarco advised the group that the City of Bayonne is going to follow a model developed in Secaucus for animal facilities. According to Vincent Revelli, Health Officer for Bayonne and Secaucus, volunteers maintain and clean the facility established for a cat colony in Secaucus. That same system would be adopted in Bayonne. The new Bayonne cat facility will be designed by Consulting and Municipal Engineers (CME), the firm that serves as the City of Bayonne’s City Engineer.
The new cat facility will be built in Halecky-IMTT Park, a 3.56-acre property that serves as a buffer between industrial and residential areas. It is located east of Avenue F, between 24th and 28th Streets. The park was named after former City Council Member John Halecky and IMTT, a neighboring industry. Ken Poesl, the owner of Ken’s Marine, a local clean-up firm, has offered to supply heavy equipment and laborers to help with construction. Vincent Alessi of the Alessi Organization, a local real estate developer, has offered to donate gravel. Boy Scout Leader John Hughes promised to involve Boy Scouts in the construction of the dwelling units for the cats. City officials will be seeking the donation of a supply shed and materials for kitty houses from local stores. One of the City’s goals is to provide the cats with a facility that will be on platforms above snow and potential future floods.
Reportedly, most of the cats in the colony behind the former A & P have been spayed or neutered. Public health officials will be speaking to local veterinarians to seek their assistance in spaying or neutering cats that are still capable of reproducing.
Before construction can begin, City officials and CME engineers will need to survey a potential cat colony site within Halecky-IMTT Park, plan connections to water and electricity, and develop a security system for the animal facility. The cat colony’s new home is expected to have a size of 4,000 square feet. City officials hope to complete the new cat facility by the end of the year.