NUTLEY, NJ - Mayor Dr. Joe Scarpelli led a group of energetic walkers on a 3 mile trek through Nutley as the kick-off walk for Greenutley’s ‘Walk & Talk’ series. A different guest speaker leads the walk every week. 

The energized group departed from Municipal parking lot No. 1 at 8:30am and had  about 90 minutes hours to ask questions of the Mayor. The first question sparked an engaged discussion about “What’s going on at the Roche property.”

Scarpelli provided an overview that included: ‘When the Medical school opens in the fall of 2018 there will be 2500 people a day coming in and out of the campus.’

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Regarding the proposed roundabouts proposed at the campus now known as On3, a walker said: “It works, but depends on the behavior of the drivers. Some people exhibit common courtesy while others can be quite aggressive.”

TAPinto Nutley: Roundabout Proposed for On3 Entrance on Kingsland Street for Former Roche Site

Another citizen asked about traffic that will be generated from the new mixed-use apartment building opening soon at Kingsland and Passaic. Scarpelli said: “Traffic is not the issue decided by the planning and zoning boards. Safety is what determines decisions. Some traffic is good. It causes people to slow down and say ‘hey, I didn’t know that shop was there’.”

The walkers had the pleasure of being co-led by Yantacaw student Brayden Aiello, the Township “Mayor of the Day.” Brayden’s mom, dad and sister also walked and talked. The prize was from the school’s  spring Tricky Tray.

At the urging of Mayor Scarpelli, young ‘Mayor Aiello’ shared a story. “I had to go to the emergency room because I was bent over and couldn’t walk. My x-ray said: I’m full of poop!” Brayden’s sister added ‘it’s because he eats too many calzones’.  (TAPinto Nutley’s “Taco Tuesday” interview with Brayden)

Another topic was the Nutley Commission form of Government.  According to the Township website:  ‘In 1900, after a natural disaster left Galveston, Texas to completely rebuild, citizens formed a commission form of government to insure that corruption would not hinder their efforts.’

Scarpelli said, “Each commissioner serves as a department head for one of the five departments. While commissioners can ask for each other’s advice, at the end of the day, whatever that commissioner feels is best, it’s his decision.”

He cited the example of the Public Affairs Department. ‘When Judge Joanne Cochiola was in charge of the Nutley department, she focused on women’s issues, Commissioner Rogers focus is veterans.’

LEARN more about Nutley’s Commission Form of Government

As the walkers took a breather to admire the park’s waterfalls, Kingsland Manor’s Corresponding Secretarty Terry Kish, invited everyone to tour the Manor held the third Sunday of every month

[ Historical Note: In 1973, the owners of Kingsland Manor asked the Township of Nutley permission to subdivide two side yards and build new home on them. Fortunately, Green Acres funding provided half of the funds and the town purchased the Kingsland Manor for $90,000.00.]

Nutley High Junior, Miranda Madrazo and her father, were among the early morning Father’s Day walkers. Miranda serves as vice president and was co-host for the Women’s Work Panel held in April.

As an active leader of the 90 member Women's Activism Club club, she is excited about new programs and events being planned for next school year. Regarding walking, Miranda said she wished more students would walk instead of drive to school. Since spring, more students have been biking, however there are no bike racks at the high school. The closest racks are at the library.

Miranda’s mom, walker and engaged citizen Tara Spinelli, is volunteer Coordinator of the Nutley Pace Car & Pedestrian Education Program  The program falls under the Nutley Health Department with grant funding from Partners for Health whose mission is to make our communities healthier, better places to live.

Read “Yantacaw Walks: Nutley’s Pilot Walk-to-School Program” by Tara Spinelli 

Also joining the Nutley residents on the walk was Liz Brady, “Let’s Walk” Program Coordinator for New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition. Liz partners with the Nutley Health Department and leads “Let’s Walk” through Nutley parks. 

Liz believes walking groups offer instant support that helps you achieve your fitness goals. Walking with a group encourages you to be social, provides motivation, accountability, and safety. To learn about “Let’s Walk” and other programs offered by the Health Dept, contact Courtney Johnson, Assistant to Commissioner Rogers, 973-284-4951 x2429 or email cjohnson@nutleynj.org - www.nutleynj.org/health

As the walkers slowly made their way back onto the municipal parking lot, they raced to purchase iced coffee and hibiscus tea*. Bravo to the walkers and their guides on completing the walk on a balmy, high humidity 86 degree Father’s Day in Nutley NJ.

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NOTE: Last month, TAPintoNutley attended a phone conference with Mayor Scarpelli and Cyndi Steiner, Executive Director of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition. TAP’s editorial staff is currently preparing an article on Bike and Pedestrian Education and is interested in hearing from you. If you would like to be interviewed for the article or have an interest in joining a focus group to brainstorm ideas on Bike and Pedestrian safety, send an email to Nutley@TAPinto.net

TAPintoNutley.net is the only locally owned news organization serving the Township of Nutley. TAPintoNutley.net is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association.

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