TRENTON – Senator Paul A. Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic and Chair of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, made the following statement today after the Committee held its first hearing of the session, focusing on the operations of the PNC Bank Arts Center:
“As New Jersey gears up for another summer of concerts at the PNC Bank Arts Center, it’s appropriate for the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee to look at how the Arts Center is run and how it serves the people of the Garden State.
“It’s clear that there is very little the State can do directly to change the way the Arts Center is run on a day to day basis given the strict lease agreement between the Turnpike Authority and Live Nation. In hindsight, that lease agreement may not have been in the best interests of New Jersey, but we must make the best of it until we have a chance to renegotiate the agreement in 2017. Until that time, it’s critical that the Turnpike Authority, Live Nation and the State Police work together to make each concert a success.
“In recent years, underage drinking has become a very real concern at the Arts Center. The first priority of the State when it comes to events held on state property is to provide a safe, healthy environment for all people in attendance. In listening to today’s testimony, it is clear that this concern is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.”
Senator Sarlo also made several recommendations regarding the management of the PNC Bank Arts Center moving forward:
- Develop a protocol that will allow the Turnpike Authority and State Police to give input into the concert schedule before any artists are booked.
- Continue to find ways to keep individuals who do not possess a ticket for the day’s event from tailgating in the parking lot.
- Continue with the installation of surveillance cameras to discourage illegal activities throughout the facility, such as underage drinking.
- Provide more restroom facilities in the parking area to better serve patrons.
- Coordinate an advertising campaign to make the public aware of cultural events held at the Arts Center.