Fall is upon us and our children have gone back to in-person learning, at least partially. The year 2020 has proved to be quite a challenge and continues to test us daily!
You have probably seen the pictures and read the story in TAPinto. Last Monday, Sept. 21, construction crews were preparing to pave the parking lot in front of the entrance of the new municipal complex and noticed something odd. Heavy equipment seemed to be sinking into lower into the ground. Taking quick action, EUC began to excavate the area. Crews unearthed a tangled vehicle (some say it is a car, others say it is an old truck). Luckily, only a few tires were found in addition to the vehicle. Environmental engineers tested the site and found no contamination in that area– phew!
In addition to surprise vehicles, the Township Administrator and I monitor the progress on the municipal complex -- daily -- as the developer is contractually obligated to substantially complete the complex by the end of October. I personally walk the building each and every day (weekends included) and walk weekly with the owner of Epic, John Epifano, to ensure open communication to work toward our end goal of opening our new building in the near future to our residents!
I am proud to report a group of young high school students came forward this summer with an idea to create a Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC), which has met several times over the last month. They are working on a number of programs and events that will enrich the community, from collaborating with our older senior citizen population to toy and food drives. They are working to get the word out about their plans. So, keep an eye open for these wonderful community events sponsored by the MYC.
The Senior Advisory Board is piloting ideas to help Township seniors not fall into depression and isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, outdoor exercise and outdoor bingo is being organized on a trial basis. I have requested CARES Act funds from Union County to help expand these programs to more of our senior citizen population. Thanks to Delicious Heights for donating the space, the Recreation Department for organizing the event and Autumn Lake for donating prizes. This is what teamwork looks like!
Our paving program is moving forward; we are pleased to announce that the train station parking lot and improvements along Plainfield Avenue were approved. This includes roads around Lincoln and Plainfield, on the opposite side of Springfield Avenue from TD Bank and Vine Republic. Milling, paving and some minor drainage work on Greenbriar, Ferndale, Fawn Circle, Fay Place and Hastings will also be done this Fall, as well as repaving of Fairfax Drive, along with adding much-needed drainage, new elevations for curbing and sidewalk repairs. And finally, the Township is paving Cottage Street.
The Economic Development Committee (EDC) has continued to meet to develop ways to help our business community by strategizing marketing campaigns primed to spotlight local businesses. We want residents to know that it is safe to shop, patronize and dine at our local stores and restaurants.
Please note, this year is a Vote-By-Mail (VBM) ONLY ELECTION. There will be no machine voting. Voters who wait until Election Day will be given paper ballots (called provisional ballots) which will be counted AFTER the Vote by Mail ballots. The Board of Elections has placed a secure voting box at Snyder Avenue Park across from the playground and spray park up against the bathrooms. The box is emptied daily and has its own security camera. You can safely drop your ballot there or put it in the mail.
My new Instagram account is @mayorangiedevanney, which may be of interest as I know many are moving to alternate social media apps. I will post daily Covid numbers and all the amazing events and people who make this community a wonderful, welcoming place to call home.
Finally, please remember to continue to wear a mask, socially distance when possible (even with a mask if indoors), sanitize your hands and use all of the CDC health protocols when it comes to Covid and the forthcoming flu season. We can’t afford to go backwards as we have come so far TOGETHER.
Stay safe, stay healthy.
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