CRANFORD, NJ - Mayors representing the communities along the Rahway River met this week on March 31 at Springfield Town Hall, at a meeting hosted by Mayor Jerry Fernandez. The meeting was scheduled originally to hear the results of the US Army Corps of Engineers recommended course of action on the flood mitigation plan that has been developed over past two years. After ten alternatives were narrowed to three, March 31 was the date scheduled for moving to the next step which was the US Army Corps recommendation of the best alternative from a benefit-cost perspective. The final alternative, while much assessment has been done on it, is still not ready for public review but it is close.
Last month the Mayors went to Washington DC to make the case before the US Congress for construction funding of the Rahway River flood mitigation plan funding. This was the third visit which reflected the commitment of these officials to urge action. The effort has reached a critical juncture and a funding authorization bill is expected to be before the US Congress later in the year. The Mayors will meet in the next month with New Jersey officials in Trenton to urge acceleration of the state's part of the funding of the plan.
Positive news at the meeting was that $774,000 (federal and state) in funds have been included in FY 2017 for the continuing work. Mayors expressed appreciation to Senators Booker and Menendez and Congressman Lance and Payne. Also, both Senator Booker and Senator Menendez are proactively working on the Senate Subcommittee to urge funding of potential WRTA federal authorization for the projects.
The Mayors Council Rahway River Watershed Flood Control includes: Union Mayor Manual Figueiredo; Former Millburn Mayor Robert Tillotson; Cranford Mayor Andis Kalnins; Millburn Mayor Ted Bourke; Rahway Mayor Sam Steinman; Springfield Mayor Jerry Fernandez; Maplewood Mayor Victor Deluca; and Kenilworth Mayor Anthony DeLuca.
Also in attendance; Senator Cory Booker's staff member Zack Mccue; Cranford Deputy Mayor Mary O'Connor, Former Mayor Tom Hannen and Commissioner John Mallon; Union County Engineer Thomas Mineo and townships engineers from Union and Springfield; former Springfield Committeewoman Bandrowski among others.
Over $100 million of damages was faced by residents along the Rahway River during Irene and no improvement in the situation has yet been done. The Federal and State Rahway River Flood Mitigation Plan has significant flood mitigation benefits including material water elevation reductions from Millburn to Rahway.
The plan includes modification to the Orange reservoir to store more water during peak storm conditions and there is proposed channelization improvements from Lenape Park through Cranford; and investigations are ongoing for improved storage in the Robinson Branch part of the Rahway River in the City of Rahway.
For further information contact Dan Aschenbach, Mayors Council, 908-468-8806 or firstname.lastname@example.org
From left to right: Union County Engineer Tom Mineo; former Mayor and current Cranford Commissioner Tom Hannen; Springfield Mayor Jerry Fernandez; Former Millburn Mayor and present commissioner Robert Tillotson; Cranford Mayor Andis Kalnins; Kenilworth Mayor Anthony DeLuca; Cranford Deputy Mayor Mary O'Connor and Winning Strategies Principal Robert Zucker.