BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Peppertown Park Clock was celebrated by the community as a crowd of over 100 people including town officials, residents, businesses and organizations of Berkeley Heights came together to celebrate its newest landmark.
"It truly is a proud day for Berkeley Heights. When I look out at the faces -- it is heartfelt to know so many people," said Midge Vicendese, Downtown Beautification Committee member. "We take great pride in the clock, it means so much to all of us. It combines the past, present and future of Berkeley Heights."
"Looking at the landmark today, reminds us of how special a town we really are," said Julie Lloyd, Downtown Beautification Committee member. "This is truly the beginning of an exciting time for downtown Berkeley Heights. With the standards going forward, we hope to create nuances to allow Berkeley Heights to shine throughout all the seasons for many years to come."
The Downtown Beautification Committee is a group of all volunteers who are committed to ensuring that the look of Berkeley Heights reflects the people of Berkeley Heights, said Lloyd. "Our town is a friendly, warm, caring community. We need to capitalize on this feeling as we move forward to beautifying our downtown."
The members of the committee are Kerry Blasch, Rick Froio, Jeanne Kingsley, Julie Lloyd, Ron Loria, Bobbie Peer, Tom Pirone, Jamie Ronga and Midge Vicendese.
The Downtown Clock Project was the first of the committee's goals to raise funds to help enhance the streetscape of downtown Berkeley Heights. "We are currently looking at state grants and funding to truly create a beautiful downtown," said Lloyd.
The vision of Mayor Joe Bruno came together through the dedication of the committee with the help of the "entire village."
"A lot of hard work went into this -- I'm happy that we finally got this here," said Bruno. "It is a testimony to town pride. All of this was done by donations. A standing memorial for time to come," said Bruno.
Township Council President Jeanne Kingsley and originator of the Downtown Beautification Committee thanked the patrons for their generous services and donations.
- Clock Face Sponsors: Bob and Nadine Tokash of Dean's Greens Garden, Nursery and Floral Center; The Mea Family of Berkeley Shopping Center; The Connell Company; Summit Medical Group.
- 100 contributors who purchased plaques along the four sides of the clock - permanently memorializing families, businesses and organizations.
- Installation services donated by Rick Froio and Eddie Perez; Jim Delia of Earthwork and Boulderscape; J.L. Franchino, Inc.; Jim Ramentol, GRA Architects, Inc.; Hall's Garden Center and Florist; Kevin Sullivan of Chestnut Tree Experts; and the Berkeley Heights Department of Public Works.
When Froio was approached by the Mayor to be on the Beautification Committee, he took it upon himself to donate all of the labor to get the project going. "I knew it would be a beautiful piece of art and history that would last forever in our town," said Froio. "We have great people like Joe Franchino, Jim Delia and my partner, Eddie Perez. A lot of great people and the committee were instrumental in making it happen."
Catherine Martino, a lifetime resident, gave the honor of cutting the ribbon to the clock. Bruno provided Mrs. Martino with a proclamation recognizing her as an honored resident of the township of Berkeley Heights as they dedicated the township clock on the property of her childhood homestead.
The crowd enjoyed entertainment by Steven LaMaita and Mukta Phatak. Refreshments were provided by Rita's Ice and cookies baked by Midge Vicendese.
"It is wonderful to live in a small town that has so much spirit and pride," said Kingsley. "This is the beginning of changing the face of Berkeley Heights."