WEST ORANGE, NJ — In addition to honoring various students, citizens, township employees and more during the West Orange Chamber of Commerce (WOCC) Mayor’s Breakfast held at the Wilshire Grand Hotel, Mayor Robert Parisi also delivered his 2020 “State-of-the-Township” Address to a room full of local residents and business leaders.

In his annual address, the mayor spoke about recent accomplishments such as the purchase of Rock Spring Golf Club, stating that more than 22,000 rounds of golf have already been played there, and adopting the second-lowest municipal budget increase of all 22 Essex County towns, averaging about 1.6-percent per year over the last decade.

He also summarized some of the privately funded redevelopment projects totaling about $300 million that are currently underway in West Orange, highlighting the following:

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  • A joint Central Avenue Redevelopment project between West Orange and Orange to replace “an entire block of contaminated properties that had been abandoned for more than forty years.”
     
  • Building luxury Edison Lofts on Main Street at the site of a former Thomas Edison factory.
     
  • Constructing an apartment building across from the Richard J. Codey Arena in a location that has been vacant for more than a decade.
     
  • Renovating the Essex Green Shopping Center. The mayor added that one structure at Executive Drive—which is comprised of 30 acres of vacant office buildings adjacent to Essex Green—will remain, while two other structures will become the home to 361 housing units plus 64 affordable-housing units.
     
  • Rebuilding the West Orange Public Library at 10 Rooney Circle, which he said will be deeded to the township at no cost due to the government PILOT program. The property will also include a two-acre dog park and other outdoor spaces as well as more parking than the previous site.
     
  • Upgrading the commuter jitney and overnight parking at Bethany Church.
     
  • Utilizing a recent grant that will enable West Orange to “enhance our already robust senior citizen programs by adding senior livability programs.”
     
  • Constructing a special needs playground at O’Connor Park.
     
  • Revamping Degnan Park by rebuilding the “kiddie-park,” modernizing the athletic field with artificial surface and improving other public spaces within the park.

“In addition to the many youth baseball programs that count on Degnan, our Mountaineer girls softball team also depends on this field,” the mayor said of the pending park renovations. “We look to create a space that measures up to the quality of our other athletic fields.”

Parisi concluded that the West Orange community is “connected in our hopes for the opportunity found in good schools, for safe streets to get us to work, with nice parks and programs for play.”

“We are connected with the warmth and comfort found in the joy of family and friends,” he said.

Click here to read Parisi’s speech in its entirety.

Parisi expressed his gratitude to all WOCC members for “ensuring the success of our business community” and to WOCC President Sally Malech for leading the “important organization.”

Event chair Susan McCartney, who also serves as a council member in addition to being a business owner and educator, described the event as “a great venue to promote our community assets” and recognized WOCC Executive Director Bianca Prieto for her tireless efforts to promote local businesses.

CLICK HERE to read about the students, citizens and employees honored during the 2020 Mayor’s Breakfast.