RANDOLPH, NJ - After months of surveys and suspense, the township council voted on Veterans Community Park as the name for the new park on Calais Road. Residents had an opportunity to vote on a possible name in March, and the Parks Committee continued discussion while the council had the final decision.
Mayor Mark Forstenhausler explained the name Veterans Park won the survey with one-third of the votes. However, the Parks Committee also considered Calais Community Park in their discussions.
“The parks committee was pretty much tied between Veterans Park and Community Park, and they all seemed to agree on Veterans Community Park,” added Councilwoman Joanne Veech, liaison to the Parks Committee.
“[The name is] in line with what our residents are telling us, what our survey told us, and what I think most people would support as well,” Veech said.
Several council members felt the addition of the word community was unnecessary.
“All our parks are community parks, so it seems redundant to me,” said Councilman Mike Guadagno.
Deputy Mayor Jim Loveys mentioned the discussion started because “it’s an all-inclusive community park as opposed to a park with ball fields that is more geared towards the youth. I think that was the gist of that.”
The park will include a flag and a memorial, and the name complements Freedom Park with its focus on veterans.
“It’s more of a passive recreation park for our aging population,” Veech continued. “The community garden, the bandshell, the pickleball courts, and we just thought that it would be great to honor our veterans.”
Councilman Lance Tkacs felt the committee discussed the suggestion at great length over the past few months, “and it’s not right for us to change that at the 11th hour.”
Since the Parks Committee plays an advisory role in the discussion, the council had the option to name the park Veterans Park. They chose to simply take a vote instead, and the name Veterans Community Park passed. Guadagno and Al Napoliello voted No to the name in favor of Veterans Park.
Resident Lou Nisivoccia commented, “I’m happy it’s called a community park...I like it, I think it ties together what Randolph is really about.”