RANDOLPH, NJ- Randolph Township’s newly appointed Mayor Christine Carey was welcomed as a guest speaker at the Randolph Area Chamber of Commerce January luncheon meeting. Carey addressed community business leaders, highlighting some topics of interest for the coming years.
The Mayor first discussed the status of business vacancies in town, including the former A&P location in which she stated the Township Council has expressed “A strong desire” to fill the space with another grocer. At the Kmart location, the owner was collecting on the lease of the vacant property until just a few months ago, and since that has expired, activity has started to pick up in searching for a tenant.
“I want to assure everyone that the Town Manager and the Town Council are doing everything we can to assist the owners of vacant properties,” said Carey. “We want to have those vacancies filled as much as everyone else. However, at the end of the day, the property owners have to negotiate the best deals they can to fulfill their business goals.”
Now that roadwork is complete at the Sussex and Hanover intersection, Mark’s Corner is moving forward to develop 60,000 square feet of retail space, and is currently in the design and application phase.
A few new food options are coming to town, as Carey announced that a Wendy’s restaurant will soon rise next to Randolph Diner (demolition is currently taking place on the old structure) and a Colombian restaurant/bar/bakery named "Noches de Colombia” is opening in the old Blockbuster space at the Kmart Plaza.
Carey also discussed the Parks and Recreation ten year master plan
“Some of the very appealing aspects about living in Randolph are our 600 acres of parks, 16 miles of trails and numerous recreation programs, said Carey. “In 2014, recognizing that the Randolph community had changed since the last Master Plan was developed in 2004, the Township Council decided to assess the needs of the community and develop an updated plan.”
After an 18-month information-gathering process with extensive community input, meetings with more than 40 stakeholder groups, input from over 600 residents via an online survey, and 520 responses to a mailed survey, final recommendations were presented. In July of 2016, a new Master Plan was adopted, which provides a vision for the future of the township’s park facilities and recreation programs for the next 10 years.
Some of the key recommendations and components of the plan are below:
• Preserve open space
• Upgrade and maintain current facilities
• Upgrade and add new field lighting at several parks
• Replace artificial turf at Freedom Park, and add two additional artificial turf fields (Freedom Park and Brundage / Sussex Park)
• Provide paved walkways to all facilities to improve access and meet ADA guidelines
• Upgrade or install restrooms, drinking fountains at all parks
• Provide Wi-Fi at all parks
• Install security cameras
• Improve Brundage Playhouse
In addition to upgrading and improving current facilities, a major focus of the Master Plan is the development of a new park on Calais Road. Recommendations for this new park include:
• Outdoor stage / band-shell with event lawn seating
• Community garden
• Nature trails
• Outdoor fitness equipment
• All access play ground
• Picnic shelters
• Game courts (pickleball, bocce, shuffleboard)
The Plan will be implemented over the next 10 years using funds from the Open Space Trust Fund with no new tax impact on residents. The total cost of the 10-year plan is estimated at approximately $12 million dollars.
In November 2016, a trails master plan committee was created to provide recommendations about how to improve our trail system with new trail segments, trail enhancements, and better connectivity of existing trails.
A community meeting is being held on Monday, January 30th at 7:00 p.m. at the Community Center for the public to hear about the process and provide input about what they would like to see in terms of improvements to the trail system.
Another major focus this year is the construction of a new cell tower on the municipal property to improve communications in this critical area of schools, police, and township government.
“Cell phone service at the municipal/school complex on Millbrook has historically been very poor,” said Carey. “One of the critical lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy in 2012 was that dependable cell service is not ideal in this area of town.”
Carey concluded by sharing, “Moving us further into the 21st century, we will also be expanding our social media efforts with Facebook and Twitter, which a college intern from CCM will be helping out with one day per week.”