August 30, 2013 at 11:43 AM
MAPLEWOOD, NJ – “Engage Maplewood” is a relatively new organization in town that is attempting to increase communication and discussion among residents in regard to important issues in the community.
The idea for the group was originated in the wake of some sparsely attended Township Committee Meetings.
“No one was attending the formal meetings when the township began discussing the post office plan,” said Dave Helmkamp, one of the group’s founders. “We asked ourselves ‘Why?’”
Engage Maplewood was formed Helmkamp, John Harvey, William Dunsavage, Thomas Pauly, and Kurt Kiley (who resigned from the group in July when he decided to run for Township Committee). The five agreed that the post office redevelopment plan was too important of an issue for more of the community not to be informed and included in the conversation.
Helmkamp said that Engage Maplewood aims “to make people aware of important issues, and get them to talk.” He said they are staying apolitical and are not in any way an advocacy group for either side of this or any issue. They will take occassional surveys to guage community views (see below).
The future of the post office site will impact residents more so than any other development issues currently under consideration, so it was a natural starting point for the group.
“I see the post office as a case study for a way other people might take up issues that interest them in the future,” Helmkamp said. “I would like to see people come to the organization when they want to get more people involved in a particular issue.” He sees the Engage Maplewood website and newsgroup as tools others can use to spark a dialogue.
Click on this link to complete Engage Maplewood’s first survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Engage1
To learn more about Engage Maplewood, click here: http://engage-maplewood.org/index.html