WEST CALDWELL, NJ — One of the new commercial businesses opening in West Caldwell will be a new Amazon fulfillment center, which will be housed in a 200,000-square-foot facility.
According to West Caldwell Mayor Joseph Tempesta, speaking during Tuesday's meeting of the Township Council, the building has existed for decades and is being retrofitted. A citizen called into the meeting to ask if a tax abatement has been granted and Tempesta confirmed that no abatement had been requested and none given. He confirmed the municipality has never granted a tax abatement for any project.
According to a press release by Amazon, the facility located at 10 Patton Drive will create more than 130 full- and part-time jobs for associates, all making at least $15 an hour. Tempesta remarked that “our commercial enterprises are thriving with four major projects moving forward.”
Infrastructure upgrades were unanimously approved in the consent agenda as a resolution authorizing a contract to Marini Bros. Construction Co., Inc., in the amount of $557,059.54 for New Jersey Department of Transportation for fiscal year 2020 for various streets repairs and repaving.
During committee reports, Council President Kathy Canale reported that the Department of Public Works has been continuing the water main repairs along Smull Avenue. The project had been initially projected to take approximately 60 days however the completion may be earlier than that. Canale reported that the Senior Transportation bus which currently runs on Wednesdays beginning at 6 a.m., to area supermarkets may be adding additional days, possibly Mondays and Fridays. Demand will be accessed once feedback is provided.
Councilman Joseph Cecere reported that the new Francisco Playground is “beautiful," and the community has been enjoying it. Cecere noted that fall sports have begun including cross-country, soccer, field hockey and outdoor volleyball. Senior aerobics at Memorial Park has been very well attended. Although there have been rainouts this summer for the Gazebo concerts, the next two Wednesdays concerts will begin at 7 p.m. instead of the previously scheduled 7:30 p.m. start time. The Parrot Beach Band, a Jimmy Buffett tribute group, is scheduled for next Wednesday.
Multiple members of the council remarked that the community has been extremely appreciative that Westville Avenue pool will remain open for the weekends in September. Mayor Joseph Tempesta confirmed if the capacity requires the Cedar Street Pool to open also then the second facility will be opened as well.
Councilman Stanley Hladik thanked the mayor and his colleagues on behalf of the Board of Health for allowance of the Rutgers University interns who have assisted with contact tracing. Hladik confirmed that it is the West Caldwell Police Department who is required for enforcing social distancing measures in restaurants and not the board of health. While closing his comments Hladik thanked Police Chief Dennis Capriglione, members of the department and all area first responders for “all that they do, particularly during this time” when criticism of some departments is taking place nationwide.
The Environmental Commission, according to Councilman Stephen Wolsky is waiting for a New Jersey ban on single use plastic bags and it is expected that the council will support the initiative as previously discussed. Wolsky stated that the plan for Wrensch Park clean-up is coming up and details will be worked out to ensure proper social distancing measures are adhered to.
Councilman Michael Docteroff reported that the work has begun on the former Sears location as the Essex Mall will be receiving a facelift. A new state of the art animal hospital will be moving into the former site.
Town Clerk Mary Donovan reported that the deadline to register for the Nov. 3 election is Oct. 13 and residents may register to vote online through the municipality’s website, however a digital signature will be required. Donovan encouraged residents to review the website for further voting information. There will be two polling sites available, one at James Caldwell High School and the other on the second floor of the municipal building.
As Tempesta closed the public portion of the meeting, he noted Superintendent Dr. James Heinegg’s recent announcement of his pending retirement effective July 1, 2021.
“I will miss him, and we wish him well," Tempesta said. "He was always such a gentleman, and he will be missed.”