To the Editor:
What makes Chatham Borough special to me is its sense of community. We all look out after one another. Our elected officials are volunteers and those serving on boards, commissions and committees are also volunteers. Volunteerism is what makes Chatham such a special place.
One of our community gathering spaces is the Community Gardens of the Chathams on Woodland Road. It is enjoyed by scores of gardeners who grow their fruits and vegetables and socialize with their fellow neighbors as they seek to grow the “perfect tomato.” Our gardeners are kept abreast of the latest garden developments through the use of an announcement kiosk, which is behind a Plexiglas door. The announcements are no more. Vandals have twice broken the Plexiglas making any posted announcements vulnerable to wet weather. The expense of replacing the Plexiglas comes from the Community Gardens’ budget, which is not an inexhaustible supply of money.
Kelley’s Pond, behind the Milton Avenue School, is another recent improvement to our community gathering spaces. Through the donations of the Chatham Fire Department, grants and the hard labor of our DPW, Firemen and Boy Scouts, among others, Kelley’s Pond has been transformed into a destination for relaxation and enjoying a picnic in nature.
The barbeque fire pit was completely restored, the pond was dredged and aerated so water is constantly flowing, bird houses have been placed there for those who love bird watching and bat houses were also placed there. Informational kiosks explained the types of bats and birds you could observe. But, now it’s more difficult to enjoy because vandals saw fit to break the slate cover of the barbeque pit, smash the Plexiglas doors, and tear a bird house down.
The common thread to both was the discovery of empty beer cans nearby. I can only surmise that “teens” or a bit older, had a little too much to drink and too much time on their hands. What has been built as recreational spaces for US and for THEM has been ruined for all of US by the selfish, self-absorbed acts of vandals.
I implore any responsible individual to prove their commitment to Chatham by stepping forward, admitting you did wrong and making restitution. YOU are part of our community. YOU are the reason we make these improvements. YOU should not deny US the right to enjoy our public spaces. YOU know who you are; do the right thing.
Chatham, NJ 07928