CALDWELL, NJ - As part of the Borough of Caldwell’s ongoing effort to promote the health and safety of residents, Mayor John Kelley and members of the borough council have shared the details of some upcoming health and wellness projects in addition to updating residents on enhancements being made to the Caldwell Community Center and some 2019 events.

Councilwoman Christine Schmidt announced on Tuesday that the Borough of Caldwell was recently the recipient of the New Jersey Healthy Community Network’s Health Grant in the total of $20,000 to be split in half between 2018 and 2019.

"Health and safety are the two key areas that the community must be focused on to qualify for this grant funding," said Schmidt, who explained that Caldwell qualified in these areas through the Caldwell Farmer's Market as well as the Safe Routes to School Program in conjunction the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). “Our Farmer's Market was very successful and we are hoping to continue with it this year.”

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In support of these efforts, Kelley announced that Caldwell would also be qualifying for the Silver Level of the Safe Routes to School Program.

"There are four levels, and this is the third highest,” he said. “Our Director of Human Services, Maria Burak, is partnering with Sgt. Mike Pellegrino, our safety specialist, in order to meet the requirements, which include annual Crossing Guard training for all guards as well as putting together a safety project."

Kelley added that one proposed safety project aimed to launch in April is a Bikeability Assessment of the borough that will be accompanied by a community event that will feature a bike safety presentation from Safe Routes. Other goals for this program include the establishment of a “Walking School Bus” program, which Kelley said would aim to encourage children to walk to school accompanied by parent volunteers. 

In addition to the health benefits of walking or biking to school, Kelley said that reducing the number of cars idling in front of schools would also be greatly beneficial. He added that since kids are generally closer to the ground and tailpipes, children end up inhaling 50 percent more pollution per pound of body weight when they walk by idling cars during afternoon pick up.

“If we can reduce this problem, it will certainly be beneficial to our children’s health,” said Kelley. “Kids who bike or walk to school arrive at school ready to learn. The council and I are looking forward to working with Maria Burak and Sgt. Pellegrino to help provide safer routes to school and in general, a healthier and more walkable community."

Schmidt added that the borough is still working out some specifics about expenditures and events and will keep the community updated these projects move forward.

In other news, Councilman Jonathan Lace shared that the Caldwell Community Center has a new cleaning company and all new fitness equipment that has received nothing but positive feedback.

He also noted that an upcoming trip to New York City to see “How to Kill a Mockingbird” is already sold out, and that the community center is hosting a Camp Caldwell open house on Feb. 23 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Other community center events include a “Kids Night Out” on Feb. 15 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for any parents looking to have a Valentine’s date night as well as a “Mini Camp” being held on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19. Anyone interested in these events should contact the Caldwell Community Center at 973-228-7665.

Lace also mentioned his recent meeting with Dave Cowell of the Grover Cleveland Birthplace Memorial Association (GCBMA), who updated him on the efforts to build a Visitor's Center after the bid came back well above initial projections.

"Assemblyman Ted Giblin is working with the GCBMA and state legislators McKeon, Jasey and Codey in order to see what can be done to offset the additional cost,” said Lace. “The board discussed several ideas for fundraising before adjourning.”

Lace encouraged residents to take advantage of his office hour opportunities, which include Virtual Office Hours from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. by contacting him at jlace@caldwell-nj.com or 973-570-3070; Regular Office Hours from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoons at 1 Provost Square; or Coffee Office Hours on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Rock N Joe Café.