Madison Council Considers Lightning Prediction System

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MADISON, NJ – A warning system in the event of lightning is being considered by the Madison Borough Council.
 
Sharad Gupta and Steve Coppola of Thor Guard Lightning Prediction Systems gave a presentation at the Nov. 14 council meeting.
 
 
“Often, these systems are only used after lightning has struck,” Coppola said. The system would provide eight to 20 minutes warning time and can determine where a storm is moving, he said. There are predictable and visual warnings, with strobe lights that stay on.
 
“It’s proactive versus reactive,” Gupta said, adding that most schools and parks have no warning systems. They described hand held lightning detector units and said they measure electric static in advance.

 
In this area, Vernona, New Jersey Jets, West Orange, Paramus and Rutgers are among the locations with such a system.Gupta recommended a centralized area at Central Avenue School, with clusters installed nearby, such as Bayley Ellard. “Madison is small enough for one main detection unit,” Coppola said. The cost would be $51,000, with $5,100 per year in maintenance.
 
“It’s an impressive system,” Councilman Bob Conley said. “We could develop partnerships and it would benefit sports programs.”
 
Borough Administrator Raymond Cody said there would be no additional risk or liability.
 
Councilman Don Links, who introduced the proposal, said the cost is not significant when you realize you could save a child’s life. The council will review the idea for further discussion at the Nov. 28 meeting.
 
In other matters, the council adopted a resolution to accept a donation from the Madison Athletic Foundation for a field house at the Madison Recreation Center.
 
Councilman Sam Cerciello questioned why the structure couldn’t be redesigned, with two stories, more bathrooms, a place for the team to go during half time, a first aid area and other features. “Why can’t we do this right?” he said.
 
Mayor Mary-Anna Holden explained this was a gift, at no cost to the taxpayer.
 
“This is an important element of success for the site, with the turf fields and lights,” Conley said. He noted the matter had been on the agenda two weeks ago.
 
Several residents expressed concerns about flooding and street repairs. “I’m tired of living in a swamp.” one woman said,
 
Pete Di Rosa of Pine Street said moving a curb to save a tree doesn’t make any sense, as it simply rips up part of the root of a tree. He also questioned narrowing streets, which would not allow enough space for fire trucks and other heavy equipment.
 
The council introduced an ordinance to appropriate $320,000 for construction of a water main replacement on Academy Road and Division Avenue.  The hearing is scheduled for Nov. 28.
 
The council accepted a bid of $250,000 for the sale of property on Orchard Street to the Madison Housing Authority. According to the resolution, the buyer is obligated to perform an environmental clean-up of the property. The site will be limited to single family homes because of a restricted covenant. Administrator Cody said the funding would come from two grants and a trust fund.

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