West Orange Council President Jerry Guarino: 'Stop the Negatives'

President of the West Orange Township Council Jerry Guarino  Credits:

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Last week, TAPinto West Orange sat down with President of the West Orange Township Council Jerry Guarino to discuss what has been happening in town and what is coming up. There was a consistent theme of pride throughout the conversation where Guarino spoke about the positive programs and services offered by the township. And when he spoke about some of the negative undertones within the community, his response was positive too.

“Stop the negatives,” said Guarino. “If you see something that's wrong, then be part of the solution. Come to a Town Council meeting and use the podium to share your thoughts for five minutes. Write a letter to a councilperson or the mayor. Step up and tell us what you feel is wrong and offer suggestions for improvement. Don’t just sit back and stew—be proactive and be part of the solution.”

First up for Guarino was a discussion on the Downtown Alliance, which is led by Megan Brill.

Sign Up for E-News

“Things are going well with the Downtown Alliance and the energy is felt by the people in the downtown corridor,” he said. “New businesses are coming into town. And the support provided by the Downtown Alliance to the small businesses is such a great positive to me.”

He added, “While our Main Street is never going to be like a Short Hills main street, it is going to be a great main street of services and businesses that service our entire community. It’s being cleaned up and people are feeling good about the area. And, new restaurants and businesses are coming into the area as more and more people are seeing that there's something vital to investing in the downtown West Orange community.”

He said he feels a great sense of community and solidarity in town these days.

“The people in this town care—they really do,” he said.

Next, Guarino addressed Prism, or what he calls—the Edison development. He said he expects development there to begin moving along very shortly.

“It will be a real boost to West Orange and when it gets going—it will be a catalyst to the Main Street corridor,” he said.

“Once the financial agreement between Prism and the new partners is signed, the work will start right away,” he said. “They're very excited about this project. These new partners see a development that's going to be very profitable and very successful. They have a commitment to the township and wouldn’t be investing in it if they didn’t see a value there for the entire community.”

“Nobody would put $26 million of their money into something that didn't believe in,” said Guarino. “They are going to throw good money after a good thing—not good money after a bad thing.”

While many people in West Orange have complained that Prism didn’t pay their taxes on time, Guarino shared that the taxes have not only been paid in full, but that they also paid penalties that were assessed, which in turn provided additional revenue for the town.

“Though I don't agree with people not paying their taxes on time, it is important to realize that in today’s world, many homeowners and businesses are having a difficult time and sometimes cannot pay their taxes on time,” said Guarino. “However, in this instance, the company eventually paid their taxes, and the additional penalties. So, monies were actually added to the town, and at the end of the day, the township didn't lose anything or get hurt—it benefitted from the situation financially.”

Up next was pedestrian safety and Guarino’s ordinance in creating the Pedestrian Safety Committee and the Pleasant Valley Way Civic Traffic and Safety Commission. Guarino shared that he is very proud of the work he has done on this as a councilman. He said there are plans to involve the entire community and not just Pleasantdale.

“The goal is to improve the safety for pedestrians—from our children to our seniors,” he said. “We want people to be able to get to places by feeling comfortable walking there.”

He talked about the grant that West Orange received from Partners in Health, a group in Montclair that supports organizations looking to do studies on the betterment of the community’s quality-of-life social issues. The grant will pay Rutgers University directly, with Rutgers’ Charles Brown of Rutgers heading up the pedestrian safety study.

Last week, the committee met with Brown to discuss: the scope of the study; what it will develop; how it will be delivered; and what information is needed from the township. This study will cover every neighborhood within West Orange because “every neighborhood has traffic and safety issues,” said Guarino.

“Just like I as a councilman work for and look at helping the entire community—this study will affect the entire township,” said Guarino.

“West Orange has so much to offer and there are so many great things happening in town like the Downtown Alliance, the pedestrian safety ordinance and upcoming study and even the Edison development that will soon be breaking ground to offer a vital area for residents and perspective residents,” said Guarino. “I wish people would see all of the good being done in town, and take ahold of the positive spirit, instead of being negative,” said Guarino.

Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 of this article. Part 2 will run on Wednesday.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Free Flavors Soft Serve Ice Cream (Jr. Cup or Cone) With Coupon

May 23, 2018

Fairfield, NJ - Flavors Homemade Ice Cream is offering a FREE soft serve ice cream (jr. cup or cone) when you spend $10 or more with coupon.

Flavors Homemade Is located at 653 Rt 46 West (1.98 mi) in Fairfield, New Jersey 07004 next to Jose Tejas.

*Homemade Ice Cream

*Italian Ice


*Fresh waffles 

*ice ...

Evolve Cycle And Fitness Presale Happening Now!

CALDWELL, NJ - Evolve Cycle and Fitness is now offering 10 classes for only $90. That’s only $9 a class when you purchase before its official Grand Opening on Friday, June 1, 2018. 

Only two weeks left to take advantage of this limited time offer! Call Martha at 973-979-5919 or click here to sign up.

Evolve Cycle and Fitness is a Premier Fitness Boutique ...

Montclair HS Student Reported Sexual Assault in All-Gender Bathroom, Officials Say

May 17, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - According to published reports on Wednesday, Montclair Police officials are investigating allegations of sexual assault reported to have occurred in a bathroom at Montclair High School.

Montclair police officials state that officers received a report about an incident at the high school of a sexual nature that occurred around 3:18 p.m. on Monday. The ...

Upcoming Events


Mon, May 28, 10:00 AM

Township Hall, West Orange

2018 Memorial Day Observance

Community Calendar


Mon, May 28, 8:00 PM

West Orange High School, West Orange

Board of Education Meeting

Community Calendar Education


Tue, May 29

Essex County

Primary – Vote by Mail deadline

Clarifying Points Made in Article About WOHS Air Quality Issues

May 14, 2018

Dear Editor, 

I am the advisor to West Orange High School's student newspaper, The Pioneer. My Editor-in-Chief, Anna Favetta, is the student who researched the topic and wrote the article bringing this issue to light. She worked on the article for 4 months before she had adequate and proper information for it to go to print. 

An article on the BOE presentation of the ...

What It Means to Me - A Baseball Story

We are all in amazement of the dedication and talent of our young West Orange athletes. One of the goals of our youth sports programs is to develop our players so they are ready for high school and are prepared for success at that next level of play. Throughout the course of the year we will be featuring some of our talented young athletes and coaches. This week we have the perspective of ...

West Orange On Three!

The spring season is in full swing, and we are excited to debut this new column focusing on all things youth sports!  We thought we would kick things off with an overview of the programs West Orange has to offer, and then go behind the scenes to see what makes youth sports tick.

West Orange Police Athletic League (PAL) and Mountain Top League (MTL), together with the West Orange ...

Summer 2018 Events at the West Orange Public Library

May 15, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Beginning in June, the West Orange Public Library will offer the following events for area residents of all ages:

Dinosaurs’ Rock!                                             

Monday, June 11, 4:00 p.m.

Field Station Dinosaur visits with the ...

10-Year-Old Cancer Patient Receives Donation from Randolph Hockey Family

May 21, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ — While the inter-town hockey battles on the ice between Randolph and Roxbury are fierce at every age level, when it comes to real-life battles off the ice, there is no hesitation to offer help to their neighbor.

Such is the case with a recent gesture of unity and support from the members of the Randolph varsity hockey team, when they came together to ...

A Royal Pain

I went to a big wedding over the weekend.  It was in England.

I like to think I was invited, but according to the Royal Guards and the Thames Valley Police I was not.  But more about that later.

You see, not too long ago I received an evite addressed to me from H&  Curiously, it was in my spam folder with a warning message. For an evite it was pretty ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...