New Providence Residents Complain About Community Center

Michael Gennaro

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – For more than 30 years the borough’s Senior Center located on East Fourth Street has served as an informative and welcoming spot for senior citizens to expand their horizons and socialize with their peer group.

During the past few years as membership has dwindled, the center has opened its doors for other events which recently prompted a name change to the DeCorso Community Center, named after the family that donated the property to the borough.

However, many of those non-senior events are taking place late at night, causing hardships and concerns about parking and safety, residents told Borough Council members.

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“There seems to be no regulation of hours, noise or the dispensing of adult beverages past a certain time,” resident Frank Mellusi stated in a letter to council members.

Resident Mario Marchini told council members neighbors have seen center events that have lasted into the late evening hours with residential streets packed with cars until the early morning thus creating fire, health and safety issues. “We don’t need another Starbucks in our backyard,” he said.

Borough Council members registered surprise over the situation and pledged to take a very close look at the situation. Council President Michael Genaro directed Borough Administrator Doug Marvin to compile a detailed list of center users with days, dates and hours of usage and a review of ordinances.

In other actions, the Borough Council authorized bidding for solid waste collection services. For several years those services have been provided by First Occupational that hired employees with disabilities. The company was recently purchased by Suburban Disposal prompting the necessity to bid the contract.

As a cost-saving measure, for many years the borough has used the Westfield Health Services Department to provide similar services to New Providence. Robinson said that contract will increase by $927.

Construction on a shared services emergency response system with Summit and Millburn is underway with the center to be located at the Municipal Center in New Providence, Councilman Robert Munoz noted. He introduced a resolution approving the first partial payment of almost $33,000.

Continuing an effort to solve downtown parking issues, Councilman Gary Kapner said Susan Gruel, the borough’s professional planner, will introduce a master parking plan to downtown business owners on May 19.

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