Business & Finance

Union County Freeholder Chair Bruce Bergen Addresses the Patriot Chamber and Discusses Flooding Issues

Union County Freeholder Chair Bruce Bergen speaking to Springfield's Patriot Chamber of Commerce Credits: Ellen Dickson

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Springfield resident Bruce Bergen is in his fifth year as a Freeholder and his second year as Chair. He addressed the Springfield Patriot Chamber on June 22. Specifically, he reported on the recent funding Springfield has received for infrastructure.  Since the sale of Runnells Hospital three years ago for approximately $20 million, the County has been using the proceeds to fund municipal infrastructure grants. Springfield most recently received $75,000 and another $25,000 was awarded in a Senior Grant for equipment at the Chisholm Senior Center.

Mr. Bergen detailed plans for dredging the pond at Meisel Field. He expected it to commence in the next few weeks and be finished sometime in October. An aerator will be installed in the middle of the pond to help with algae. He also said that a sidewalk had been extended at the field.

When questioned about Briant Park Pond and when it would be dredged, he stated that “Briant Park Pond is difficult. It is a multi-million dollar project.  It hasn’t been done in a long time.”  He went on to report on some of the challenges including difficulty permitting, and removing and disposing of silt is very hard and expensive. As a result, he was pessimistic that there would be any money in the budget anytime soon for Briant Park.

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Then he discussed Rahway River flooding issues. Mr. Bergen elaborated on an extensive Army Corps of Engineers project that is moving through the pipeline. Most important for Springfield, the plan would put three eighteen foot pipes under the Orange Reservoir in Essex County. When a major storm is forecast, the reservoir would be drained by two to three feet which lowers the potential flood height. “This would help the towns of Millburn, Union, Springfield, Kenilworth, Cranford, all the way down the river”. There is support from New Jersey Senators and Congressmen and Congresswomen. Funding would need to come from Federal, State and local levels. He is hopeful the work can start in the next year to year and a half.

The next meeting is September 28 at 8:30 a.m. in the Firehouse.

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