MONTCLAIR, NJ - At the Montclair council conference meeting on Tuesday, May 9, residents and other members of the community attended to discuss various topics affecting residents.
First to come forward was Daniel Cruz, who has spoken before the council before. According to Cruz, there is a serious need for food services on the south end of Montclair, specifically for the elderly residents. He outlined four suggestions which would help solve this issue but, admitted that he needs advice from the council regarding how to out this plan into place.
His first suggestion was to implement a ride share and delivery service which could be used by seniors and other residents who are unable to drive.
“ShopRite and Food Town both have delivery services which are affordable and we need to reach out to offline residents to educate them how to use the internet to get their groceries,” said Cruz.
He also suggested contacting the Men and Women of Charity to see if they could provide transportation.
Cruz also came up with a variety of other solutions which would require some assistance from the council included using open space in Montclair to create a community garden or affordable farmers market. He also spoke with the health department to find out how to create a restaurant drop off program in which local restaurants would bring leftover food to sanctioned drop off zones in order for it to be donated to charity.
“I won’t pretend that I have all the answers, and I know that without a solid core of volunteers, all these plans will fail. But I am a hopeful man with a strong faith in the spirit of this community,” said Cruz.
The next community member to come forward was Ingride Layne who currently lives in Bloomfield, but grew up in Montclair. She explained that she is interested in moving back to town but is concerned with the lack of housing available for the working class.
“When I came back to town after college, I almost didn’t recognize Montclair. Currently there is really nothing for millennials or anyone making an average living to purchase here and I was wondering if the council has any plans to help bring back some of the residents who have left because housing is too expensive,” she asked.
Mayor Robert Jackson responded by stating that he understands her concern and has already implemented a few solutions to this problem. Currently, the Seymour Street Development will contain affordable housing for both Montclair residents and those who are public workers of the town. While he agrees that there has been a number of changes to the demographics of the town over the years, he explained that there is still a significant amount of low income families.
Finally, the Parks and Recreation Committee presented their 2017 Strategic Vision to the council. This plan outlined the vision the group has for Montclair’s green spaces, facilities and programming. Currently, the board focuses on four areas: open spaces, athletic and recreational facilities, cultural affairs events and recreational programs.
The 2017 Strategic Vision is broken up into three categories: short-term goals, medium-term goals and long term goals. Some of the short-term goals include increasing the amount of LED and solar power lighting in parks, installing visible and accessible refuse containers in all the parks, increasing social media activity and creating a community garden. They also have plans to repair various athletic facilities as well as implement various cultural affairs programs and recreational programs.
One of their long term goals is to explore the possibility of consolidating the various town pools into one Olympic size pool.
Members handed out to the committee a detailed outline of all the strategic vision to each council member.