Union County News

Union Residents Voice Concern and Frustration over County's Proposed Green Lane Park

4f41b850faff94129c30_78bde345581d1b93deca_green_lane_park_2.jpg
Change of Use Hearing for the proposed County-owned Green Lane Park Credits: Tapinto Union
cb822ee69d0abb31c9c8_7e168645a9afe2dabe7b_green_lane_park_1.jpg
Change of Use Hearing for the proposed County-owned Green Lane Park Credits: Tapinto Union
797f285af358f4f653a5_c5e7411f3c3cd24b4546_green_lane_park_3.jpg
Proposed Green Lane Park Credits: Tapinto Union

UNION, NJ – About 30 Union residents came out to a Change of Use hearing at Union’s Town Hall regarding Union County’s plan to build a playground on Green Lane adjacent to the Kennedy Reservation. 

About 15 residents voiced their opposition to the project. Concerns centered around the constant and continued disturbances and reported drug use in and around the Kennedy Reservation. Residents said the playground will only add to the problem. 

One lone resident said, “I’m really excited about the park. It would be a great place to have some family time. There are problems but there are ways to resolve them.”

Sign Up for E-News

Assistant Union County Council Kevin Campbell presided over the hearing, which he said was required by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Campbell explained that a hearing is required whenever a change of use for Green Acres property is requested. He said Green Acres property can only be used as open space or for recreational purposes.

As outlined by project manager Doug Hopper, the proposal includes a playground area that will incorporate about one of the five county-owned acres, in the upper corner portion of the property adjacent to Green Lane.

Hopper said plans call for improvement to an existing parking lot, a small outdoor fitness center, a rubber surfaced playground with areas for both younger and older children, a shade structure, restrooms, seating and landscaping. 

“There is a lot of drug use in the park and the playground may not be used as intended,” said one resident.

Union resident Colleen Zaccaria said, “We’ve put our time into this. We’ve attended township and Freeholder meetings. We’re not getting answers.” Zaccaria said Kean University students are “abusing our homes, neighborhood, cars and woods.” She provided Campbell with photos taken inside the Reservation of drug "dens," bags of garbage including drug paraphernalia, and "hate symbols" drawn on pathways.

The original proposal for the Kennedy Reservation property included a joint effort between the County and township, with a playground located within the County’s 5 acres and the development of the 40-acre township-owned portion into walking and biking paths and a dog park.  The plans for the township property were scraped after being met with opposition from residents with concerns over traffic, trash and incidents involving Kean students and others using the reservation for drug use.

“This is our home.  It seems like it’s slipping through our fingertips,” said Zaccaria.  Zaccaria and many of the other residents expressed concerns about the proposed restrooms and covered areas for the potential to “draw undesirables.”

Residents also voiced their frustration over the lack of answers available at the hearing.

Campbell said many of the questions posed by the residents could only be answered by the Union County Freeholders and that this hearing was not the venue for such questions.  Union County Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen and Freeholder Vernell Wright were in attendance for a portion of the hearing but did not address the audience.

Vicki Durbin Drake from Union County’s Office of Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, said this was the first public meeting held by the County in regard to this property.  She said the issue will be on the agenda of an upcoming Freeholder meeting.  She said residents can also attend any Freeholder meeting and speak about their concerns during the open public comment portion.

“I’m disheartened to realize this meeting is really just to check off a box,” said one resident.

Residents voiced their concern over policing of the playground area and whether the bathroom facility would be locked at night.  One resident said the Kean students are not around quite as much now.  “We’re moving away from bad stuff, but this park will bring them out of the woodwork."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Union

UNION, NJ - Happenings in Union this week:

January 15, 2018

Monday, 1/15

 


Martin Luther King Jr. Day - Municipal Building Closed

 

Tuesday, 1/16

 


SID Meeting, 8:30 a.m., Town Hall


Pre-K STEM Storytime: "Fun with Penguins”, 11:00 a.m., Vauxhall Public Library


Tai Chi - Free Exercise Program, 12:30 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library


Tuesdays at 2 Movie: Victoria & Abdul ...

Power Outage in Union Friday Morning

UNION, NJ  -Around 9:00 Friday morning parts of Union lost power according to a CodeRed message sent out by the Township.

The CodeRed said that PSEG announced the power outage was caused by a switching station malfunction at the Cranford substation.

As of 10:00 a.m., PSEG is hoping to have power restored before noon.

The Week Ahead in Union

UNION, NJ - Happenings in Union this week:

Monday, 1/8

•Adult Prize Bingo, 1:00 p.m., Union Public Library

•Construction Zone, 3:30 p.m., Union Public Library

•Township Committee Conference, 6:00 p.m., Town Hall

•Budgeting 101 with Wells Fargo, 6:30 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library

Tuesday, 1/9

•Toddler & Pre-K Music & Movement, 11:00 a.m., ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_303649b1b4f25a2412ec_tai_chi

Tue, January 16, 12:30 PM

Vauxhall Public Library, Vauxhall

Tai Chi - Free Exercise Program For Mature Adults

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_f32cab78dc7d863a5fc4_mini_magick20180111-35856-1estwju

Tue, January 16, 2:00 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Tuesday at 2 Movie: Victoria & Abdul (2017)

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_e9e8fd58de8d6ed4f453_municipal_band

Mon, February 5, 7:00 PM

Hannah Caldwell School, Union

Union Municipal Band

Carousel_image_e9e8fd58de8d6ed4f453_municipal_band

Mon, March 12, 7:00 PM

Hannah Caldwell School, Union

Union Municipal Band

Michael Ioannou Makes Dean's List at Lehigh University

January 7, 2018

BETHLEHEM, PA - Dean's List status, which is awarded to students who earned a scholastic average of 3.6 or better while carrying at least 12 hours of regularly graded courses, has been granted to Michael Ioannou of Union in the Fall2017 semester.

For more than 150 years, Lehigh University (lehigh.edu) has combined outstanding academic and learning opportunities with leadership in fostering ...

Two from Union Make Dean's List at York College of Pennsylvania

YORK, PA - Over 1400 students were named to the Dean's List at York College of Pennsylvania for the Fall 2017 semester, including two Union students:

Rae-Yanna Johnson is a senior Political Science major and Laura Roberts is a sophomore Nursing major.

To be eligible for this honor, a student must be registered for at least 12 academic credit hours and earn a semester GPA of 3.50 or ...

Dog Found in Roselle Still Being Held at Newark Shelter

January 15, 2018

ROSELLE, NJ - A dog that was found on January 9, is still being held at the Newark Animal Shelter because no owner has claimed him. 

Roselle Police said the dog was found in the area of the Roselle side of Warinanco Park. The dog has a distinct blue eye and brown eye. Police also said the animal was checked and had no chip or tags. 

The Newark Animal Shelter ...

Podcast: Cranford Radio Interviews New Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados

ELIZABETH, NJ - The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has elected Elizabeth resident Sergio Granados to serve as their chairman for 2018.

At Sunday’s reorganization meeting, Granados outlined his initiatives for the coming year.

On Thursday, he spoke with Cranford Radio to discuss them further.

 

Clark High School Senior Dies; Counselors at ALJ Providing Support to Classmates

CLARK, NJ – Students at Arthur L. Johnson High School are mourning a classmate who died Monday evening. 

“I am writing to you with great sadness that one of our ALJ seniors passed away this evening. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family and friends,” school Superintendent Ed Grande wrote in a letter to parents Monday night.

The ...

Make the Road New Jersey Joins Union County Freeholder Chairman to Condemn End of Protected Status for Nearly 200,000 Salvadorans

January 14, 2018

Elizabeth, NJ - On Monday the Trump administration announced the end of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Salvadorans. Effective Sept. 9, 2019, nearly 200,000 people who have been living and working legally in the U.S. for almost two decades, who have American families, homes and businesses, will be subject to deportation. 10,000 Salvadoran TPS holders currently reside in New ...

New Program in Union County for Environmental Action

Union County residents who are interested in tackling the environmental issues of today can join the Environmental Stewards program. Conveniently based in Westfield, the program is designed to help local residents design and execute environmental projects in their communities.

“The Environmental Stewards program brings the insights of scientists and researchers to Union County’s ...

Union Catholic's Alexxa Irizarry Named 2018 International Teen Queen of the Carnaval de Barranquilla

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Alexxa Irizarry, who has worked tirelessly on relief efforts for Venezuelan refugees and has spent years helping indigenous people in Colombia and the United States, recently received several honors for her service and civic contributions.

Irizarry, a sophomore at Union Catholic, was selected as the 2018 International Teen Queen of the Carnaval de Barranquilla, Colombia, ...

Grants in Action in our Schools

The Township of Union Education Foundation awarded seven grants to teachers in the Union school district for the 2017-2018 school year. Three mini- grants and four macro grants were awarded to teachers in five township schools.

At Livingston School, Ms. Roberts, Ms. Kitzman and Ms. Cellitti reported the grant has positively impacted on all the students. The foundation supplied Fire Kids ...

Columns

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Medical Minute – Winter Weather Edition

On this episode of AtlantiCast Medical Minute, learn how to take the fight to Old Man Winter, while staying safe! Learn some winter health tips with Anthony Brutico, MD, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Newton Medical Center.

 

Maisie Dobbs by Jacquelline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (Soho Press, 2003)

In the song “The Schuyler Sisters” from the Broadway musical Hamilton, sister Angelica sings, “ I've been reading 'Common Sense' by Thomas Paine. So men say that I'm intense or I'm insane, You want a revolution? I wanna a revelation . . .” because she and her sisters are “looking for a mind ...

The People Versus Alex Cross by James Patterson

The People Versus Alex Cross by James Patterson (Little, Brown, 2017)

 

Alex Cross, subject of James Patterson's 25th book in this venerable, fast paced detective series, is in big time trouble again. Even though his great nemesis is dead, Gary Soneji has a way of plaguing Alex from the grave, through his son, Dylan Winslow, and dastardly accomplices.

Using one of the major ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Medical Minute – Winter Weather Edition

On this episode of AtlantiCast Medical Minute, learn how to take the fight to Old Man Winter, while staying safe! Learn some winter health tips with Anthony Brutico, MD, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Newton Medical Center.

 

Sam's Club Abruptly Closes and Locks Out Employees at Linden Location

January 11, 2018

LINDEN, NJ - The Union County Freeholder Board through its social service and re-employment agencies is offering assistance to any Union County resident who was laid off by today’s Sam’s Club Store closings. 

Sam’s Club maintained a store in Linden, which abruptly closed,  laying off as many as an estimated 200 full-time and part-time employees. Signs posted on the ...

Giants Sign Former Bloomfield High School Star Kristjan Sokoli

BLOOMFIELD, NJ  — With the NFL playoffs heating up, those teams not fortunate enough to make the postseason get a jumpstart on improving their roster for the following season. The New York Giants recently locked down Bloomfield High School graduate Kristjan Sokoli, signing him to its practice squad and giving him a futures contract.  

NFL teams use futures ...

Letters to the Editor