BLOOMFIELD, NJ – The rich history of the African-American community was front and center during Bloomfield’s Township Council Regular Meeting on Monday evening, February 24, at  Town Hall Chambers in the Municipal Building.

Three Proclamations were issued to the Historical Society of Bloomfield to honor and recognize the economic, cultural, spiritual and political contributions of three groups of people in celebration of Black History Month.

The first Proclamation, read by Councilwoman Sarah Cruz, honored the Boone Family for their decades of contributions to the community.

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The second Proclamation, read by Councilwoman Nina Davis, honored Dr. Marcheta P. Evans, the seventeenth President of Bloomfield College.

“Dr. Evans is both the first woman and the first African-American to lead the college in it’s 150-year history,” said Councilwoman Davis.

Dr. Evans took the helm at Bloomfield College on June 1, 2019.

“I am very excited to be here in Bloomfield and be apart of your community,” Dr. Evans said.  “If you haven’t yet been on the Bloomfield College campus, we are here to serve you.”

The third Proclamation, read by Councilman Nick Joanow, recognized Mac Hyppolite, Jr.

“As part of this philanthropic endeavors, Mac rode over 3,000 across the United States on his bicycle to raise awareness and funds for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Miracle Network,” Councilman Joanow said.

“I can’t thank (the council) and the Township of Bloomfield enough for this monumental moment,” said Hyppolite.  “You have been there for me since day zero.  The community is where the love and foundation starts.”

At the conclusion the Proclamation presentations, Mayor Michael Venezia commented, “we have a lot of history here with us tonight, and this is absolutely wonderful to honor Dr. Evans, the Boone Family, and my good friend Mac – we are all very proud of you.”

The President of the Bloomfield Historical Society, Jean Kuras, and several trustees including Mark Sceurman attended the meeting to witness the ceremonies.

More community acknowledgements were made as a Proclamation was issued to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the League of Women Voters of the Montclair and Bloomfield areas.

“The League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 as a ‘mighty political experiment’ by the foremothers in the suffragist movement at the National American Woman Suffrage Association,” said Councilman Ted Gamble.  “Their goal was to help the 20 million women who were granted the right to vote by the 19th Amendment understand and carry out their new responsibility as voters.”

“With the success of this effort and the tireless efforts over the last 100 years to strengthen and uphold its mission to empower voters and defend democracy, the League has become a trusted nonpartisan, grassroots organization,” Gamble added.

A Proclamation was issued to declare March 2020 as Women’s History Month in Bloomfield.

“American women of every race, class, and ethnic background served as early leaders in the forefront of every major progressive social change movement,” said Councilwoman Jenny Mundell.  “This year’s theme is ‘Valiant Women of the Vote’ which honors the brave women who fought to win suffrage rights for women, and for the women who continue to fight for the voting rights of others.”

An update was provided regarding the Lackawanna Train Station Improvement Project, where upgrades will be made to the historic train station and the surrounding intersections within the Bloomfield Center area.

The project is expected to boost the nearby business district and downtown area.

Project funds are being paid for from a federal grant through New Jersey Department of Transportation, with $300,000 received, so there will be no cost to the township for the project.

A stakeholder meeting concerning the Lackawanna Project takes place in two weeks.

After the Lackawanna presentation, Township Administrator Matthew Watkins commented, “this project has been a longtime coming and is absolutely necessary.”

A resolution for the Bloomfield Center Alliance proposed budget for 2020 was approved by unanimous vote.  The budget calls for $444,885.

All other items on the agenda were moved.

Mayor Venezia reminded residents that on Thursday, March 12, 6 pm, there will be a kickoff meeting for Township Census at the Municipal Building.  Residents can learn how the census impacts the community.

There were no public comments at the meeting.

Present at the meeting were Mayor Michael Venezia, First-Ward Councilwoman Jenny Mundell, Second-Ward Councilman Nicholas Joanow, Third-Ward Councilwoman Sarah Cruz, Councilwoman-at-Large Nina Davis, Councilman-at-Large Ted Gamble and Councilman-At-Large Richard Rockwell.

Also in attendance were Township Administrator Matthew Watkins, Township Attorney Michael Parlavecchio, Township Engineer Paul Lasek, Municipal Clerk Louise Palagano and Fire Chief Lou Venezia.

The Township Council holds its next monthly Conference Meeting on Monday, March 16, 7 pm, followed by the Regular Meeting on Monday, March 30, 7 pm.  Both meetings take place at the Council Chambers at the Municipal Building.