Residents Shoot Down New Providence Center Trial Balloons

New Providence resident Frank Mellusi Credits: Mike Neavill

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Residents who live near the DeCorso Community Center weren’t happy with borough proposals to mitigate late-night events, noise, alcohol consumption, traffic safety and parking issues.

At Monday night’s (July 14) meeting, Councilman Dr. Bob Robinson, a member of a five-person subcommittee charged with finding an equitable solution to the problem, introduced several proposals.

Hours of operation for the center would be modified with a 9:30 p.m. closing from Sundays through Thursdays and until 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Evening events, consisting of more than 60 people would be limited to two per month (24 per year) on Fridays and Saturdays.

Robinson also addressed neighborhood concerns over traffic safety and street parking.

“Emergency No Parking” signs would be posted on Pleasantville Avenue to assure safe passage of emergency vehicles during large events. The temporary signs would be placed prior to the event and picked-up afterward by the group using the center.

Concern about alcohol consumption was also addressed. No alcohol would be permitted when children were in attendance. If alcohol was permitted for the event, it must be consumed inside of the building.

The current noise policy would be amended to prohibit music after 9 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays and 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

All of those proposals met with stiff resistance from neighbors in attendance.

Resident Bob Dougherty, who does not reside in the affected neighborhood, took issue with the yearly maximum of 24 events, which is more than twice the number of 2013. He added that based on usage during the first five months of this year, the center is on course for 17 events.

More events would only make the existing problems more severe. He called for a six-month moratorium on usage by groups larger than 60 and complete abolishment of alcohol consumption.

Dougherty, a former New Providence Republican Committee Chairman, said that alcohol consumption on borough owned properties was prohibited and could present the borough with liabilities not covered by insurance. “Why allow it at the DeCorso Center?” Dougherty asked.

Resident Frank Mellusi, who is a long-time resident of the neighborhood, said that since the center’s usage has been expanded beyond solely senior citizens, conditions have become intolerable. “We all love the idea of a moratorium,” he said.

Less controversial proposals submitted by Robinson were having the borough administrator responsible for approving all events, garbage, landscaping and re-striping the parking lot.

In addition to Robinson, the sub-committee that developed the proposals included Councilman Armand Galluccio, Borough Administrator Doug Marvin, Community Activities Director Tzu-Lin Toner and Senior Citizen Coordinator Peggy Brodeur.

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