WEST CALDWELL, NJ — Mayor Joseph Tempesta and members of the West Caldwell Township Council welcomed nearly 50 residents to council chambers last week for the township’s biannual “newcomers welcome” meet and greet.

As new residents arrived, they were greeted with light refreshments and a multitude of pamphlets, T-shirts and informational booklets from the recreation department, tax/water department, first aid squad, library, fire and police departments and the health department.

In attendance were all department heads, who made themselves available to answer inquiries and to provide information to the new residents.

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Tempesta introduced Chief of Police Gerard Paris and Captain Dennis Capriglione, School Resource Officer Paul Mazzeo, Fire Chief Mike Luker and Superintendent of Public Works Vincent Graziosa.  Also present were directors and assistant directors from the public library, Department of Recreation, First Aid Squad, Office of Emergency Management, construction officials, township business administrator, town clerk and the township attorney. 

Representing the Caldwell-West Caldwell school district were Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Heinegg, board of education president Marie LanFrank and board members Julianna Grosso and John King.

Each of the council members welcomed the residents and provided insight into services and activities available to residents. 

Councilman Stephen Wolsky announced an upcoming town-wide Swap Meet scheduled for Oct. 12, noting that the event is once in the fall and once in the spring. 

Council President Joseph Cecere commented on the many “amazing programs” offered by the library and encouraged residents to consider joining the volunteer fire department.

Speaking about the “great school system we have,” Councilman Stanley Hladik told residents about his five children all currently attending the public schools. He also gave a brief history of how he became involved in the township, initially serving on the zoning board. He stressed that “volunteerism is the backbone of our community,” adding that the first aid squad is “always looking for volunteers.”

Councilman Michael Crudele stated that as residents of West Caldwell, the newcomers will “get a tremendous bang for your buck.” He noted that the council is involved in multiple shared-service agreements with neighboring municipalities to save the taxpayers money and increase efficiencies. 

Crudele also spoke about Camp Wyanoke and informed all of their entitlement as residents of West Caldwell to take advantage of the 150-acre reserve’s hiking trails, fishing and annual Family Day event that takes place on the third Saturday of June.

Councilwoman Kathy Canale provided information on the vast amount of recreational opportunities for the residents, noting that offerings were available to all age groups.  Sports offerings include: volleyball, ski club, soccer and STEM amongst many others. 

She also spoke about town-wide activities like the holiday tree lighting and the outdoor summer concerts as well as the two swimming pools that are available for residents. Canale encouraged senior residents to take advantage of the senior activities like golfing, fitness classes, trips and luncheons and urged them to sign up for the upcoming Octoberfest on Oct. 23 at the Brownstone.

Throughout the comments offered by the council members, Tempesta provided many statistics and information for the residents. He remarked that the town is 5.25 square miles, has approximately 11,000 residents, has no parking meters and has three main shopping areas all with onsite parking.

Considered a “bedroom community,” Tempesta noted that there are also 3,500 single- family homes, six parks, one bird sanctuary and three turf fields. The Department of Recreation has four full-time employees and 170 recreational programs that are supported by 300 volunteers.

Tempesta also spoke about the West Caldwell Fire Department, which was founded in 1912 and answered 450 calls for aid in 2018. Regarding recycling, he noted that paper is picked up one week followed the alternative week by plastic and bottles. He noted that 17,000 tons of materials were recycled in 2018.

After the council and mayor spoke, residents mingled with department heads and elected officials and accessed the many handouts that were made available for them.