Mayor Cavadas Sets Tone for 2018 at Union's Reorganization Meeting

Mayor Suzette Cavadas (center) with Township Committee members (l-r) Clifton People, Jr. Joseph Florio, Manuel Figueiredo and Michelle Delisfort. Credits: Township of Union
Union Mayor Suzette Cavadas (center) with family at the 2018 Township Reorganization meeting Credits: Township of Union
Deputy Mayor Joseph Florio with his family at Union's 2018 Reorganization meeting Credits: Township of Union
Newly appointed municipal judge Cassandra Corbett (r) gets sworn into office Credits: Township of Union
Union Mayor Suzette Cavadas addresses the audience during the 2018 Reorganization meeting Credits: Township of Union
Committeeman Joseph Florio gets sworn into office at Union's 2018 Reorganization meeting Credits: Township of Union
Committeeman Joseph Florio, Township Attorney Daniel Antonelli and Mayor Suzette Cavadas at Union's 2018 Reorganization meeting Credits: Township of Union

UNION, NJ – The new year will bring some big changes in Union's infrastructure, economy and community ties, said officials on Monday at the township's annual reorganization meeting.

Committeeman Joseph Florio was sworn into his 9th term and Cassandra Corbett was sworn in as a municipal judge. 

Mayor Suzette Cavadas was nominated as chairwoman of the committee and took about 25 minutes to outline 2018’s comprehensive initiatives in the areas of capital improvements, infrastructure, economic growth and strengthening community and families.

Sign Up for E-News

“I’m certain that you have seen marked improvement in Union Center, an area that was certainly in need of renovations,” said Cavadas.  “Last year we endeavored to completely change the ambience of Union Center with not only a complete overhaul of our sidewalks, curbs, lights and crosswalks, but also an aggressive push to fill vacancies and feet on the ground to support them.”

Cavadas said Phase I of the Stuyvesant Ave Streetscape Project was completed this past October. “If you haven’t been through the Center, I urge you to do so,” said Cavadas.

Cavadas mentioned some of the new “niche, high-caliber retail” stores in the Center including Kung Fu Tea, Atlantic Beach Soap Company, and New York City Papaya. She said new stores also included the Beauty Supply Store, Care Plus Pharmacy, Norma’s Flowers, Vision Eyewear and a new Medical Building across from Stop n’ Shop. Also, Jammed Up Bakery, owned by Van Gogh’s Ear Café, is scheduled to open soon.

Cavadas said in order to continue to increase foot traffic, the Township Committee is endeavoring to create a neighborhood downtown by continuing to utilize a mixed-use development model like Cara Lofts- which has maintained 100% occupancy since its completion in 2015.

In addition, Cavadas said ground was broken on the American Landmark Developers project on Bonnel Court which will transform 300 linear feet of Stuyvesant Ave. beginning at the former site of Terminal Mill Ends. The project is set to include 10,000 square feet of new retail space and 134 residential units. Construction on this project will span a few years.  Cavadas asked residents for patience “as people continue to invest in our Center.”

“This spring we look forward to the continuation of Union Center’s renaissance with the launch of Phase II of the Stuyvesant Ave. Streetscape, which will span Morris Ave to Pearl Harbor Square,” said Cavadas.

In the area of infrastructure, Cavadas said in 2017 the township made improvements to more than 60 roads, and “year-round our department of public works has been out surveying the streets, filling pot holes and making temporary repairs on an as-needed basis to roads outside the scope of the normal program.”

“With over 600 roads in our town, infrastructure is an area in which we will continue to have long-term focus,” said Cavadas.

Cavadas said last year the Township of was ranked the 41st Safest City in America by Safehome, placing Union in the top 25th percentile for safest places to live in the U.S.

“The Union Police Department’s commitment to safety paired with the Township Committee’s unwavering position on providing public safety officials with the latest in crime-fighting and lifesaving technology are what I believe have been a catalyst for success in this area,” Cavadas said.

Cavadas mentioned the repurposing of the Old Vauxhall Library and said that in the past few years the Township has improved the recreational facilities and parks and continues to invest in enhancements to the programs and services available for children and families, including continuing the “Play Places – Safe Spaces” program.

“It is through this program and the process of surveying our parks that we recognized the need for additional upgrades and modernizations and as such will be working through the coming year on a Parks and Rec Open Space Plan to align upgrades with the needs of our residents,” Cavadas said.

Cavadas discussed improvements to and additions of “third places” in Union – those places that are neither one’s home (a first place) nor workspace (a second place). 

Cavadas said the Union Public Library serves as an important “third place” and in 2018 major improvements will be made to it, making the space more modern and capable of addressing the needs of the community.

Cavadas talked about eliminating ‘eyesores on the community’, including a total transformation of the Garden State Motel and Clinton Manor properties, “both of which have been a blight on the community and constant source negative activity.”  Cavadas added, “2018 will be the year that we will no longer stand idle and tolerate property owners who show such disregard for the maintenance of their properties, and the safety and security of their neighbors.”

Cavadas talked about the development of the Merck property, after years of litigation, and the anticipation of a change to the old Money Store on Morris Avenue.

The Mayor spoke about the upcoming start of the Springfield Ave Streetscape and continued work with the Mayors Council on Rahway River Watershed Flood Control, local and State representatives to advocate for better infrastructure.  She said the township is projecting to service between 75 and 80 roads as a part of the regular program with combined funding from local, and federal agencies, as well as the utility companies.

In addition, the County is expected to work on Stuyvesant Ave from Vauxhall Rd. to the Irvington line, and the State is projected to be working on Morris Ave from the Springfield line to Caldwell Ave.

After years of discussing a “one seat ride” on the Raritan Valley Line, Cavadas said with Union maintaining the third highest ridership on the Raritan Valley line, she is committed to working diligently with mayors and county and state officials to continue lobbying Union’s counterparts in Washington to ensure that “one seat ride” service is expanded to peak hours in Union.

Cavadas spoke about creating a Smart City and a Greening the Town initiative, kicking off with an aggressive campaign to plant trees around town.   “It is my hope that this, paired with our continuing annual events like Operation Clean Sweep, and the Earth Day Waterway Cleanup will help our entire community to recommit to sustainability and going ‘green’.”

Cavadas said the township will also endeavor to launch our UHS STEM Collaborative, its initiative to support and empower young women interested in science, technology, engineering and math.

Cavadas spent some time discussing her commitment to end bullying and cyber bullying in Union.

“It may shock you to learn the suicide rate among middle school students is on the rise,” said Cavadas. “On pages, forums and groups on Facebook, in comments on Instagram posts, and even in private Snaps, there is rampant negativity, personal attacks, and even threats of violence.”

“As such,” said Cavadas, “I’m proud to launch our 2018 Bully-Free Zone, Cyber Bullying Certification Program targeted to the pages, forums and groups on social media platforms where our residents engage with each other, and where we engage with our residents.”

The Mayor said the program asks for administrators of social media forums and groups to take a stand with the township against negative, detrimental online behavior and to set a precedent for future generations.

By participating, online administrators would make a commitment to cultivating a safe space for the exchange of ideas free of personal attacks by fulfilling three simple criteria:

Cavadas said the Township will no longer be sharing information into third-party groups or pages that are not “Bully-Free Certified”. Once certified, the Township will share information about special events and activities going on in town and work, through the public information office, to liaison with their followers to answer “tagged” questions and comments in an official capacity, “something that has never been done before.”

“We have an exciting year ahead- full of responsible growth, progression and positive change. I am certain that I speak for all of my colleagues when I say that we are all eager to do the work, in tandem with our Township Administration, and you -our residents- to continue to make Union the best place to call home.”



TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Union's Memorial Day Parade Kicks Off at 10:00, May 28

April 26, 2018

UNION, NJ – Union’s Veteran’s Alliance Memorial Day Parade, a tribute to those who have died while serving in the country’s armed forces, will kick off at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, May 28.

The parade begins at High Street and travels along Stuyvesant Avenue to Connecticut Farms School.

“Not only is this an exciting and fun event for the entire family, but a way for ...

Vauxhall Community Garden Groundbreaking Ceremony

UNION, NJ - The Golden Rule No. 24 F&AM-PHA and the Golden Rule Chapter No. 50 OES will host a groundbreaking of the Vauxhall Community Garden on Saturday, April 28.

The goal of the community garden is to offer the community a unique opportunity to bring generations together, to receive education on healthy eating, to engage in recreational events and to assist in beautifying the ...

The Week Ahead in Union

UNION, NJ - Happenings in Union this week:

Monday, 4/23

Light It Up Blue, 8:30 a.m., Town Wide Event
Union Township Active Retirees (Monday Club), 9:00 a.m., Senior Center
Construction Zone, 3:15 p.m., Union Public Library
Career Coach, 6:00 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
Hilton Readers Book Discussion: "Small Great Things”, 6:00 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
2nd ...

Union High School: March Team of the Month

April 23, 2018

UNION, NJ - Each month Tapinto Union features a male and female Union High School Athlete of the Month.  For March, a team accomplishment is being recognized:   The Union High School Bowling Team.

Team accomplishments:

Second Place -  Warren Wheeler Tournament
Second Place - County tournament
First Place - North 2 Group 4 State ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, April 26, 2:00 PM

Union Public Library, Union

International Film: "Dark Horse"

Arts & Entertainment


Thu, April 26, 3:00 PM

Vauxhall Public Library, Union

Tween Make It @ Your Library: "Rainbow Craft"

Arts & Entertainment


Thu, April 26, 4:30 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Crazy 8s Math Club



Thu, April 26, 6:00 PM

Kawameeh Middle School, Union

What is Special Services?

Favour Garuba of Union nitiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

April 21, 2018

BATON ROUGE, LA - Favour Garuba of Union was recently initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society. Garuba was initiated at Caldwell University.

Garuba is among approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Membership is by ...

Vauxhall's John Jenkins Passes Away

UNION, NJ -  John Jenkins, a Newark native and resident of Vauxhall, passed away on April 12.  Jenkins was a beloved husband, father, grandfather and community member.

Jenkins was the devoted husband of Wimphrey (Williams) Jenkins; the beloved father of Jay (Vicki), Jerraune (Teressa), Jermel and Jeoffrey Jenkins; the grandfather of Monique, Jai (Leslie), Jazmyne, Jermel ...

Plainfield's Assemblyman Jerry Green Is Dead at Age 79

April 19, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22) has died at age 79, according to an email to TAPinto Plainfield from Councilwoman-at-Large Rebecca Williams. (Williams also shared the information on her Facebook page.)

On Jan. 24, Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22) resigned as Chairman of the Union County Democratic Committee "to focus his energy on recovering from an ...

2018 - 2019 Slate of Officers Set for Kawameeh Middle School PTA

April 24, 2018

UNION, NJ – The slate of officers for the Kawameeh Middle School PTA is set for the 2018-2019 school year.  The slate includes:

President:                     Dalila Rengifo

1st Vice President        Nadyrah Amin Fenner

2nd Vice ...

CFESPTA Tricky Tray Set for May 18

UNION, NJ - The 5th annual Tricky Tray at Connecticut Farms Elementary School will be held on Friday May 18.

Door open for the CFESPTA Red, White and Blue Tricky Tray at 5:00 p.m.  Calling begins at 7:00.  Contact Kathy McGee (908) 377-1164 or email for additional information.

Union's First United Poetry Slam

UNION, NJ - Poets and performers from Kawameeh and Burnet Middle Schools and Union High School will get together to perform at the United Poetry Slam on Friday, May 11 at the high school.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the American Red Cross.  There is a suggested donation of $1.  The event begins at 5:30 p.m.

Rahway Man Admits to Fatal Strangulation of Girlfriend

April 25, 2018

A Rahway resident has admitted to strangling his girlfriend to death in 2015, Union County First Assistant Prosecutor Albert Cernadas Jr. announced Wednesday.

Ignacio Ortiz Vasquez, 42, earlier this week pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree murder and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the death of 27-year- old Yuri Cruz. The pleas were entered just days ...

Student Led #Rally4 Action to Protest Gun Violence Held Friday in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Fueled partially by their disappointment that students were not allowed to leave school for the nationwide student protest last month, student leaders planned a rally Friday on the nineteenth anniversary of the Columbine massacre in Colorado. At 4:30 p.m., students, parents, families, community members met at Chisholm Community Center to register voters, make ...

Unveiled Sunday: Springfield's Meckes Street Renamed Reverend Clarence E. Alston Way

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Reverend Alston lead the congregation at Antioch Baptist Church for 53 years. He died October 8, 2017. According to the Proclamation issued by the Township of Springfield, he attended the Union public schools and earned his degree from Trinity Bible College in Indiana. Reverend Alston was ordained November 1964. He presided over the building of the Church and several ...

Union County College to Begin Esports Program in the Fall of 2018

April 26, 2018

CRANFORD - Union County College will become one of 63 schools nationwide, and the first county college in New Jersey, to offer a coed intercollegiate esports program, also known as Electronic Sports. Esports is a multi-player video game program that competes with colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. The Union County College Esports teams could compete against two and ...

Chair Yoga at the Union Public Library

Are you looking forward to a restorative and relaxing morning? The Union Public Library is offering Chair Yoga on Wednesday, May 2 at 10am. Certified Yoga Instructor and local resident Soumya Pandey will show us how Yoga can be a part of your daily life. No experience is necessary for this Chair Yoga class.

Stay tuned for additional Chair Yoga classes throughout the ...

Sharing Strength, Giving Back: Become a Volunteer Advocate for Victims of Sexual Violence

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that openings are still available in the upcoming training series for Volunteer Advocates for victims of sexual violence. The sessions are scheduled twice weekly beginning on Tuesday, May 1 and continuing until Thursday, June 14.

The training is free. No previous experience in counseling is required. Volunteer Advocates work ...


Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (Citadel Press, 1970)


How does a reviewer do justice to a book called “the great American novel”? I first read Johnny Got His Gun during the Viet Nam war, when young people, nationwide, were protesting fighting in a war that was a senseless waste of life; a war in which the United States had no business participating.

The Truth About My Reading

The Truth About My Reading

I didn't get my Composition and Literature teacher at Montclair State College at all. A crusty old man with a dour disposition, Mr. Smith always seemed angry and rude. He appropriately intimidated freshmen, even me, an English major, who found this common core course beneath my dignity. Frankly, as a graduate of Highland Park High School, and a survivor of Mrs.

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Letters to the Editor

Proud to Endorse Figueiredo and Delisfort for Township Committee

April 25, 2018

To whom it may concern,

As an elected official for more than 20 years, I have come to learn that effective government includes people who possess the ability to communicate, problem solve creatively and moreover bring people together on issues that matter.

I’m proud to say that over the past several years I have been privileged enough to work with two individuals on the Township ...

Politics IS Government in Union County

After Bruce Patrson of Garwood was stopped from speaking at the Union County freeholder meeting of March 22 regarding the politics behind refusing to give the party line to a sitting freeholder I thought this brazen suppression of free speech could not go unanswered. A the the April 19 meeting I answered with these comments.

After ten years of following government in Union County I conclude ...