The demolition of 112 Park Drive by Union County ends a longstanding eyesore sitting in a flood hazard area adjacent to Nomehgan Park, but it also turns the page for Cranford and the county to complete Phase 5 of the Cranford Flood Control plan. 

The property acquisition is being added to Nomehgan Park, and the efforts of Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski are much appreciated, as is the consistency of the Cranford Planning Board not to permit development in a flood hazard area and also the decade-long advocacy of the Cranford Flood Advisory Board led by former Mayor Tom Hannen. 

Phase 5 would reduce the frequency of storm sewer flooding in Balmiere and the high school area. The components of the project included an express sewer and pump station with the preferred location of the pump station at the site now acquired through Green Acres.

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The township’s actions on the Engineering study dated July 2005 has been delayed given the location of the pump station was in question. Since the property was acquired by the use of Green Acres, the process to site a pump station will be challenging given state rules on open space. But the circumstances here include only a small portion of the property is required and the severe damages to homes and properties experienced here during Irene provides justification. Cranford has already gone through this process when it sited the Riverside Drive pump station.

With the property now acquired, the 2005 study needs to be redone and updated to take the next step.