Government

South Orange Debates Need for New Emergency Shelter Space

The new South Orange Rescue Squad building could include a second-story emergency shelter space. Credits: Amy Kiste Nyberg

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Residents who must leave their homes due to prolonged power outages, flooding or other emergencies can take shelter in one of two designated sites in South Orange, the Baird Center or the South Orange Public Library.

The Board of Trustees debated whether the village needs another shelter site at a recent meeting after village President Alex Torpey, who also serves as the Office of Emergency Management coordinator, submitted a nine-page memo to the board for its review. It is also on the agenda for the Feb. 4 Public Safety Committee meeting.

Shelter space could be added to the new South Orange Rescue Squad building, which will be constructed next to the fire department on Sloan Street. The board is considering four options: a two-bay facility with and without a second story that could be used as an emergency shelter, and a three-bay option with and without a second story.

Sign Up for E-News

The board has discussed the plans in closed session but has not made public yet the final estimates for the project. Torpey, however, said that adding the second story, which could accommodate between 40 and 60 individuals depending on the final plans, would only add about 10 percent to the cost of the project.

The new space could be used not only as a shelter, but as a staging area in case of a larger-scale or regional emergency, according to Torpey. “There aren’t other municipal spaces that fit the bill,” he said.

Trustee Walter Clarke wanted to know how many individuals actually would need such a shelter. “That’s one pretty important question,” he said. “Given the relatively limited number of people we have to shelter, can we basically beef up the Baird Center and have the rollover go to the middle school?”

During recent emergencies, Trustee Sheena Collum noted, “people were very aware that we were operating a shelter but opted not to use (it) … they wanted power and warmth.”

She said the squad room would accommodate less than 1 percent of South Orange’s population. “That need has to be based on the demand and the overall cost,” she said.

According to the memo, using schools would not be an option when school is in session. In addition, there is almost no backup power in the school buildings in South Orange. These are also the problems with using the municipal library as a sheltering space, the memo stated.

“I’m not comfortable with any of the options that have been presented,” Trustee Mark Rosner said. He suggested that since the village now owns the South Orange Performing Arts Center, the SOPAC loft should be considered as a possible sheltering space.

Torpey said, “The question is: Do we need to provide better sheltering space for South Orange. If the answer is yes, this is going to be the only option that we’re going to have in the next decade.”

The current Rescue Squad facility will be torn down to make way for a retail-apartment complex at Third and Valley streets. The developer is contributing up to $1.1 million for the new Rescue Squad building as part of the development agreement. Read the story here.  

However, at a meeting Oct. 17, village Administrator Barry Lewis Jr. reported that estimates were “much, much, much higher than we were anticipating.” He said that costs “were significantly out of the budget we have established.”

Trustee Deborah Davis Ford recommended that the matter be referred to the Public Safety Committee. The committee meeting was rescheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 4 in order to accommodate her recommendation. The committee meeting is scheduled to be held on the third floor of 76 South Orange Ave., beginning at 6:30 p.m.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

Maplewood Police Blotter - Five Thefts from Vehicles Reported

May 23, 2017

May 17 - Theft from Auto; Sometime during the overnight hours, the window to a vehicle parked on S. 4th St. was broken and a fanny pack left in view was stolen.

May 19 - Theft from Auto; Sometime during the overnight hours, the window to a vehicle parked on Garfield Pl. was broken and a tablet left in view was stolen.

May 19 - Theft from Auto; Sometime during the ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Robbery; Burglary and Attempted Burglary on Same Street

May 14 - Robbery; At approximately 3:45 p.m., three males approached two juveniles in Borden Park. They asked them if they had any money before snatching a cell phone out of one of their hands and displaying what was believed to be a toy firearm. The males then left the park. One of the juveniles chased after the males and the cell phone was returned to him.

May 8 ...

South Orange Resident Receives Honorable Mention in Essex County Senior Writing Contest

May 28, 2017

CEDAR GROVE, NJ  – South Orange resident Janyce Wolf received an honorable mention for "Love's Labor Lost" at the Annual Essex County Senior Legacies Writing Contest Celebration Luncheon on Wednesday, May 24. The Legacies Writing Contest encourages "Essex senior citizens to write essays about the people and events that have influenced their lives," ...

Maplewood Curbside Recycling Rescheduled Due to Memorial Day Holiday

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 29, Monday's regular recycling collection in Maplewood will be postponed until Tuesday, May 30, according to an email from the Township of Maplewood.

Residents are asked to place recyclable items curbside on Monday evening, so that they can can be collected on Tuesday morning, May 30.

The Township of Maplewood also ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_e48662b9a639db285122_duck_race_2

Mon, May 29, 11:15 AM

Maplewood

19th Annual Memorial Duck Race

Giving Back

Carousel_image_5436bd912bc0ff902f17_river_shot

Mon, May 29, 12:15 PM

Memorial Park, Maplewood

Memorial Day Duck Race

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Carousel_image_b07a25a91798e9fec584_slides-880x400-gaelicstorm

Fri, June 2, 8:00 PM

South Orange Performing Arts Center, South Orange

Gaelic Storm at SOPAC

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, June 3, 9:00 AM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

New Jersey Youth Chorus Auditions

Arts & Entertainment

Statement of Appreciation to Dr. Ramos and Community Update

May 22, 2017

The following letter was sent by email to the school community at about 1 p.m. on Monday, May 22.

Dear SOMSD Community:

On behalf of the Board of Education, I thank Dr. Ramos for his service to our school district since August 2015. We greatly appreciate Dr. Ramos' leadership in the adoption of the Access and Equity policy, his commitment to dialogue and restorative practices, and the ...

What Every Real Estate Agent (and Homeowner) Needs to Know About Insurance

Real Estate Agents take on a great deal of responsibility when they guide us through the process of purchasing a home; knowing the basics of property insurance to point clients in the right direction is an important part of confidently brokering a home sale.

Under what circumstances should a buyer be concerned about special coverage?

A Vacant Home

Vacant homes are at higher risk for most ...

Former Vermont Governor Touts Would-be New Jersey Governor in Newark Church

May 26, 2017

NEWARK, NJ - The Rev. Ronald L. Slaughter stood before 100 people at his regular weekly noontime service at St. James AME in Newark, providing a message that was both spiritual and political. 

"Politicians come and go, but God will keep you from falling," said Slaughter, with cries of "Amen" resounding from the pews. "You need to make a choice to affirm who you ...

'Mac' Crosses Florida Border, Rides Past $6000 Fundraising Milepost

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Mac-Adley Hyppolite Jr. just rode over the Florida border this week and cruised right past the $6000 milepost on his bike trip to raise funds for Children's Hospital. Mac started his journey from Bloomfield to Orlando Florida earlier this month leaving Watsessing Park on May 1. 

At the kick-off of the bike tour, Mac went out of his way to thank "every one of ...

These are New Jersey's Top Baby Names in 2016

May 27, 2017

NEW JERSEY – The Social Security Administration has released its list of New Jersey’s most popular baby names in 2016. Liam was the most popular among the boys, while Mia had the top spot among the girls in the ...

News from Union: Morris Avenue Accident Sends Four to Hospital

UNION, NJ - Union police and firefighters responded to a three-car accident at about 7:30 a.m. Friday on Morris Avenue in front of Kean University.

According to police, one car was traveling eastbound on Morris Avenue and crossed over into the westbound lanes, crashing into two westbound vehicles. There were two occupants in the car headed eastbound and one each in the westbound cars. All ...

TripAdvisor: Wildwood Crest is Best Summer Hot Spot in Nation

May 21, 2017

WILDWOOD CREST, NJ — Wildwood Crest has been named the nation's top 2017 Summer Hot Spot by TripAdvisor.

The Cape May County beachfront community was selected based on the greatest increase in seasonal hotel booking interest, including the average one-week vacation costs for hotels and airfare.

According to a recent TripAdvisor survey of more than 1,300 U.S. travelers, 88 percent ...

2017 Downtown After Sundown Live Music Concerts Roars into its 8th Season Starting Memorial Day Weekend in the Heart of the Live Music Capital of North Jersey - South Orange, NJ.

May 27, 2017

Residents, visitors, shoppers, diners and all lovers of music are invited to enjoy the free music during the 8th Annual Downtown After Sundown Live Music Concerts in the heart of the Live Music Capital of North Jersey - South Orange, NJ.

One of the Live Music Capital of North Jersey cornerstone series is the Downtown After Sundown Live Concerts Performed in the heart of the South Orange ...

Ms.

We are pleased to announce New Jersey Tap Ensemble’s Hot Taps is returning this summer for 3 weeks in July - August at South Orange Performing Arts Center, South Orange, NJ

With funding support from the George A. Ohl Jr., Trust and the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, NJTAP is thrilled to offer this exciting, fun-filled, educational tap dance camp to children from all communities of ...

Free Model Railroad Event Coming to Union County

Model train fans are in for a treat on June 10, when The Model Railroad Club, Inc. waives its usual Saturday admission fee and opens its doors from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. for a public viewing of its annual invitational operating session.

The nonprofit Railroad Club’s sprawling HO scale layout is noted throughout the region for intricate detail and historic portrayal.

The free entry also ...