Community Garden, Bulk Pick-Up and Beautification Updates At Recent Township Council Meeting

Credits: TAP Staff

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - In November, Christina Lewis presented the idea of a Community Learning Garden to the Township Council on behalf of the Environmental Commission. Two locations that were being considered are plots by Snyder Avenue Park and Littel-Lord Farmstead on Horseshoe Road. 

Councilman Ed Delia spoke on behalf of Lewis at a recent Township Council meeting stating that after much review and due to the time sensitive nature of the initiative, the Snyder Avenue Park location would be the most practical choice for the purpose of demonstrating the Community Garden this year. Littel-Lord wasn't feasible due to the cost to adapt the property said Delia on behalf of Lewis.

Lewis would like a five year demonstration commitment with the opportunity to extend five additional years. 

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"When this was first proposed, I had a concern about where it was going," said Councilman Bob Woodruff. "One of my concerns was that it would not be downtown or at Snyder.  I do not have a problem with a demonstration circumstance of  which might be a three to five month circumstance for a summer.  I personally do not want to see this at this [Snyder Ave. Park] location.  I am not against it, but it has to be in the right location. There is a place for the garden other than at Snyder Park."

The council recommends that Lewis come up with a chronological plan so a decision can be made with a public discussion.

Council President Jeanne Kingsley was happy to report that all of the Downtown Clock sponsorship plaques have been sold and the clock and plaques have been ordered. 

"The support from the community was absolutely fantastic.  The clock and plaques have been ordered and is expected to be installed before Memorial Day," said Kingsley.

Rick Froio,  Jim Delia and the Franchino family will be donating their service free to the township to prepare the site and clean up Peppertown Park where the clock will be installed.  The Franchino family has offered to donate pavers for a path around the clock.

"We will have $15,000 in proceeds available to use for  beautification efforts going forward.  Hats off to the Beautification Committee," said Kingsley.

Township Administrator Linda Cavanaugh reported that there are serious problems of the sewers on Briarwood Road East.  "Residents are upset of the conditions.  Calls started coming in on March 29.  The crew went out to relieve the clog," said Cavanaugh.  The immediate problem is identified as being a grease clog at Kuntz Avenue near the restaurants.  It was reported that a large back up of grease has been collecting over some time.  "It isn’t going as well as they would like," said Cavanaugh.

The declogging will alleviate the immediate problem, however the long term problem is the fact the town line sewers have not been cleared in quite some time.  "The piping is 55 years old and have not been cleaned for quite a long time.  The capital plan will kick in and the long term plan can get started," said Cavanaugh.

Thomas McAndrew, Wastewater Treatment Superintendent, has been working with the Health Inspector for the concern that the restaurants have been significantly contributing to the problem said Cavanaugh.

A resolution was passed stating the one bid received in connection to the Bulk Pick-up Program was from Regional Industries, LLC, in the amount of $165,000 and exceeded the amount the Township budgetted for the Bulk Pick-up program.  The Township may reject all bids if the lowest bid substantially exceeds the cost estimates. The township can receive further bids for bulk pick-up quotes due to the one received came in significalntly higher than anticipated.

The township paid $109,000 two years ago for the bulk pick-up.  "We budgeted more because we skipped a year, however, we did not anticipate the bids to come in 50% higher," said Cavanaugh.  The township placed an advertisement to generate more interest and get the cost down. 

Mayor Bruno reiterated a prior statement that residents should clean out their homes like they are moving because there is no promise that the bulk pick-up will continue in the future.

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