Chatham Borough Lays Out 2013 goals

Chatham Borough Mayor Bruce Harris holds up the Sustainability Champion plaque awarded to the borough. The award recognizes municipalities that scored the most points in the Sustainable Jersey certification program. With 410 points, Chatham Borough won in the medium-sized municipality category for 2012.  Credits: Stacey McEvoy

CHATHAM BOROUGH, NJ - Chatham Borough has an aggressive to-do list for 2103, some of which are already in progress. Borough Administrator Robert J. Falzarano outlined the 31 goals at the Feb. 11 Borough Council meeting.

Besides the obvious goal of completing the budget presentation and its adoption, the borough has a raft of other projects on its agenda. It aims to complete sidewalk improvements, renovate Shepard Kollack Park, develop a new borough administrative code, continue to revise the affordable housing plan, ramp up its green initiatives and shared services opportunities, explore options to make Woodland Park accessible, update the historic preservation property inventory, identify community garden and trail expansion opportunities, improve downtown parking and craft a long range strategic plan for economic stability to keep taxes stable.

The borough plans to continue transitioning Chatham Recreation sports into a club model, remove excess lighting on Main Street and renovate the council’s chambers to include alternate Emergency Management Operations since the room is conducive to being a command center.

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Officials plan to work with Madison and the Joint Meeting to draft a long range capital infrastructure plan, continue evaluating industrial zones, award a recycling contract and increase both the borough’s recycling percentages and recycling tonnage reported by private contractors that serve the borough’s commercial sector.

Additionally, the borough will implement the communication technology committee’s recommendations, complete and distribute the borough’s emergency management action plan, continue developing the borough’s website and the long range capital infrastructure plan as well as implement the Long Range Traffic and Safety Planning Committee’s recommendations.

Other discussion items included a brief presentation about the Chatham Downtown Alliance, a new organization that was formed in October 2012 whose goal is to attract people to the downtown area through events and activities. Member Tony Britt said that the alliance is focused on the more than 80 businesses that are located along Main Street starting at Fairmount Avenue down to the historic district.  So far, 40 are members. The alliance recently held a jazz night at Cafe Beethoven. It hopes to expand its musical engagements and add movie nights.

Paul Ivans from the Chatham Athletic Foundation came before the council to request its gala to take place on Saturday, Sept. 28, in Reasoner Park, where it was held last fall for the first time. The event had drawn more than 400 people.

Fishawack organizer Chris Tomaino requested the borough’s permission for the festival, which became a yearly event during the past four years, to take place on Saturday, June 8. The festival broke away from its biennial tradition to become a yearly occurrence. The Fishawack Run precedes the festival. Tomaino is currently pursuing the possibility of reinstating the art show portion of the festival that had been a mainstay for many years. Council President, Len Resto, thought it was an excellent idea since it would bring more foot traffic to the downtown.

Councilwoman Victoria Fife announced that the borough would hold a spring clean up day on Saturday, April 20, in the borough’s green spaces such as Memorial Park, Rotary Park and Diversity Park. Spearheaded by the Town & Country Garden Club, the group is looking for volunteers to roll up their sleeves and mulch, clean up and beautify the borough.

Annual parking passes for the borough’s main lots will rise 2 percent for 2014. Parking permits will go $420 to $425. The increase is modest compared to the previous year’s jump from $375 to $420. Councilman Jim Lonergan said that the daily rate is still on the table.

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