News from Nearby

Debate Over Bike Trails in Watchung Reservation Continues at Union County Freeholders Meeting

03abc9a68adf34ac2bf4_ba2fb5dca500782ee4e0_IMG_6980.JPG
Thomas Manna Jr. claims mountain biking is dangerous and damaging to local communities Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
03abc9a68adf34ac2bf4_ba2fb5dca500782ee4e0_IMG_6980.JPG

ELIZABETH, NJ — Debate about the possible addition of trails for mountain biking in Watchung Reservation continued at Thursday night’s Union County Freeholders meeting. The county had asked for input regarding the trails in February, which sparked an outpouring of people into the subsequent board meetings.

A resolution regarding mountain biking had appeared on the agenda for the Freeholders meeting on April 13, but was removed from the agenda for the rescheduled meeting on April 20. Nevertheless, mountain biking was the major topic on the crowd’s mind as more than 10 Union County residents spoke before the board. 

“The common goal that we all share is a healthy, sustainable trail network and ecosystem at Watchung Reservation,” Jamie Meiselman, a Westfield resident and co-leader of the Union County Chapter of the Jersey Off Road Bicycle Association (JORBA.org), said. “This goal can be better achieved by embracing the contributions of the local mountain bike community, not by excluding it.”

Sign Up for E-News

Meiselman proposed a meeting for stakeholders invested in this issue and asked for the Freeholders to facilitate such a meeting. He also proposed a refined version of the Watchung Reservation map that he feels would result in an increase of wildlife while still allowing bike trails.

However, many voices in the room were staunchly opposed to the addition of a bike trail at all.

“This is a quality of life and safety issue that, if approved, will negatively affect every Union County resident,” Thomas Manna Jr., a Mountainside resident, said. “Mountain biking is a dangerous and destructive activity that causes serious injury to people, plants and wildlife.”

Arguments made about environmental concerns, safety and biking trails in nearby counties were raised by both pro and anti-mountain biking activists during the meeting. 

None of the Freeholders responded to comments regarding the biking concerns, but according to Sebastian D’Elia, director of communications for the county, there is no current timeline in place for a proposed resolution. This process could continue for weeks, he said.

Apart from the mountain biking concerns, two county residents voiced anger and suspicion regarding the board’s approval of resolutions 2017-296 and 2017-297, which award service contracts to T&M Associates of Middletown, NJ, and Maser Consulting, PA, of Red Bank, NJ, respectively.

“I don’t think there’s a law firm that has ever gotten a contract from this board that has not made contributions,” John Berry, a Kenilworth resident, said. “So that is a definite criteria for choosing these people.”

His concerns were echoed by Bruce Paterson of Garwood, who also accused the Freeholders of awarding contracts based on unethical means.

“I will just say that the county of Union strictly complies with the rules on all of our contracts,” Chairman Bruce H. Bergen said.

Following public commentary, the Freeholders entered into an executive session to discuss “Attorney-client privileged communications and discussions relative to potential legislation, possible violations of law and potential contract negotiations with CME relative to issues relating to the Trail Master Plan,” and “Attorney-client privileged communications and discussion relative to on-going contract negotiations with CWA,” according to the meeting agenda.

The next Union County Freeholders meeting is an agenda setting session on April 27 at 7 p.m.

---------------

TAPintoClark.net  is Clark’s official electronic news source and the only free daily paper. 

Download the free TAPinto App for iPhone or Android.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Clark

Upcoming Events

Thu, June 28, 1:15 PM

Calvary Lutheran Church, Cranford

Mid-Week Worship & Service

Carousel_image_5215384026d55e2b196a_flour

Thu, June 28, 7:00 PM

Scotch Plains

Learn about Fluorescent Minerals at the Scotch ...

Vine Ripe Markets Now Serving Italian Ices

June 22, 2018

Vine Ripe Markets is excited to serve Uncle Louie G Italian Ices this summer.  Th In addition to already offering gelato in our bakery section, Vine Ripe Markets located at 430 North Ave E. Westfield, NJ now will be serving Ices. Stop in today and take advantage of our spacious outdoor area with our newly added tables, chairs and umbrellas. Pick from the following flavors and ...

Westfield High School Sophomore Dies; Counselors on Hand at School

June 19, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Carthoris “Carter” Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High School, died Sunday night, according to Westfield Public Schools and a letter sent to parents by Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson.

“Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over the death of Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High ...

Benefits and Potential Pitfalls of 529 College Saving Plans

Do you know the benefits and potential pitfalls of 529 College Saving Plans? Do you know when to use them?  Take a listen to Chris Curran's video below as he gives and overview of them and don't forget to check out his book College Funding Secrets.  

 

 

Get Empowered to Help Prevent Suicide

June 8, 2018

Over the past week social media and the news have been filled with stories and articles encouraging people to seek help if they’re in emotional distress. There have been countless articles about the need to break the silence around the topic of mental health and suicide, and I am encouraged by the support people are extending to others.

Often, the death by suicide by prominent ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

Obituaries

Jun 29, 1927 - Apr 23, 2018
Margaret (Peggy) Kirk Leonard passed away Monday, April 23rd, surrounded by her loved ones. Peggy ...
Read more