Green

Westfield DPW Boasts New Look, New Equipment and Big Plans for Beautification

250f5ba1834fc7e25687_5989061c5bfeb7010c87_IMG_2835.jpg
DPW Director Greg O’Neil with one of the department's newly branded trucks. Credits: Jackie Lieberman
250f5ba1834fc7e25687_5989061c5bfeb7010c87_IMG_2835.jpg

WESTFIELD, NJ — Lots of changes are afoot at the Westfield Department of Public Works, from the look of its trucks to tree removal and replacement downtown. DPW Director Greg O’Neil spoke with TAP into Westfield recently about some of the things that residents might notice — and some they may not. 

New equipment:

Thanks to budget increase approved by the town council, the DPW is getting 10 new trucks of various sizes this year, several of which have already arrived. (A recent report  on the blizzard of 2016 recommended budgeting for replacement of vehicles as they reach the end of their useful lives, as well as new radios — the DPW was granted both.)

Sign Up for E-News

O’Neil described the trucks as “very versatile.” All of them have plows, he said, and the range in sizes will allow for better plowing on different size streets this winter.

“They were desperately needed,” O’Neil said. “One of the things we’re really focusing on is the snow plowing operations.”  

 A new garbage truck was also ordered. 

Quicker response to requests:

O’Neil said the department has spent much time catching up with residents’ requests for services, including pothole repair and tree replacements. During the work day, the DPW has a resident hotline (908-789-4100, option 4) to report issues includng potholes, fallen tree limbs and street drainage problems.

He estimated that the DPW recently worked on about 1,300 trees in 15 months, catching up on backlog of requests that extended back to 2011.

The DPW is responsible for trees growing in the town’s right of way. In some places, that’s between the curb and the sidewalk. Where there’s no sidewalk, a tree could be in the town’s right of way if it’s near the curb. Either way, the DPW can check to see who is responsible for a particular tree.

“If we remove it, we do try to replant,” O’Neil noted.

The DPW has also caught up on pothole patching, he said.

“The amount of complaints for potholes — if we get one to two a week, we’re surprised. We’re getting that far ahead,” he said.

And, while it may not be noticeable, signs are changed and repaired daily, he added.

Beautification around town:

The DPW is increasing number of trees in Westfield and, in some cases, switching out species that don’t work well in certain spots for trees that do. Downtown, he said, honey locust trees that were causing sidewalk and sewer problems have been taken out and are being replaced by Japanese tree lilacs, which O’Neil described as pretty and very fragrant.

Downtown Westfield’s overall landscaping is getting a makeover that O’Neil estimated will be completed over the next two years.

“What we’re doing now is kind of revamping the whole thing,” he said. “Our downtown crew is doing a great job. They’ve really spruced up downtown nicely.”

Throughout town, the DPW is introducing plantings that require little maintenance. For instance, islands once covered in grass that had to be mowed are now covered in other types of plants, he said.

“If we end the maintenance aspects of these islands, it’s better for everyone,” O’Neil explained. “It makes something either boring or ugly beautiful and easier to maintain.”

Parks are getting beautification too, like the hanging flower baskets that were added at Gumpert.

The fencing along the North Avenue side of the DPW’s grounds, which O’Neil admited looks ugly, will soon be replaced by a new building that will store not only that department’s trucks and equipment but also police vehicles, which will free up spaces around the municipal building, O’Neil said.

New look:

All of the DPW trucks are going from generic yellow to the town colors of blue and white, and are being clearly be branded with the town logo. DPW workers are wearing blue uniforms for the first time, too, making them easily identifiable as Westfield employees.

“It lends to better communication, better interfacing between the public and us,” he said. The new look also adds to workers’ sense of pride, noted.

Walk into the DPW office at 959 North Ave. West and you’ll notice the office itself has undergone a makeover, too, with fresh paint, new furniture and a more open layout.

Stephanie Majeski, administrative assistant to the director of public works, said that during the 14 years she has worked there, this is the first time the office has been redecorated.

“This is a huge morale booster,” Majeski said. 

O’Neil hoped that the more inviting office will encourage residents to come in with their concerns.

“Any time a member of the public has a question or concern, you can call us, you can email or you can come on in. I’ve always had an open door policy,” he said. “I think what they’ll see is this is a professional organization run by professionals who take pride in what they do.”

The DPW’s email address is dpw@westfieldnj.gov. To visit their website, click here.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Union County Democratic Committee Elects New Chair

February 22, 2018

CLARK, NJ – The vote for the Union County Democratic Committee (UCDC) chairmanship came to a conclusion Wednesday night when 748 committee members from the county’s 21 municipalities descended on the Gran Centurions in Clark to vote for their new party leader.

State Senator Nick Scutari won with a 412-341 victory over Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr in a battle that had become ...

Mayor Brindle’s Update

February 15, 2018

The following are highlights from the update that Mayor Shelley Brindle gave at Tuesday night’s town council meeting.

I first want to congratulate Nick Calello and David Went for their promotions to patrol officers in the Westfield Police Department. I’d also like to welcome and congratulate new Patrol Officer Fortunato Riga, who joins the police department this week upon his ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_fadfd1c21bc636c673db_schmidt_john_01_pp

Thu, February 22, 8:30 AM

Hilton Garden Inn, Hamilton , Hamilton

Defending Your Independent Contractor & Wage & ...

Business & Finance Education Law & Justice

Carousel_image_8e821e02ba44390d688c_olympics_oh_feb_2018

Thu, February 22, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend Wacky Winter Olympics Open House

Other

Carousel_image_97368eb92d0feb35caf6_img_0082

Thu, February 22, 5:00 PM

Barnes & Noble, Clark

Purim Story & Crafts Hour at Barnes & Noble

Education

Westfield Police Blotter: Man Steals 60 Pairs of Pants from Downtown Store & More

February 21, 2018

February 14, 2018 10:53 p.m.

Officers Gill and Weiss arrested Luis Murillo, age 30, of Rahway, NJ, for two outstanding warrants out of Westfield Municipal Court ($500) and Woodbridge Municipal Court ($500) pursuant to a motor vehicle stop in Scotch Plans Township. Subject was transported to headquarters, processed and released after posting requisite bail.

 

February 15, 2018 5:24 ...

Giving Back: Learn How to Help Victims of Sexual Violence

February 22, 2018

Every year since 1984, trained volunteers with the Union County Rape Crisis Center have helped victims of sexual violence through the emotional, medical and legal aftermath of trauma. New volunteers are welcome to join the next series of training classes beginning on Thursday, March 22.

No previous experience in crisis counseling is necessary.

“Over the years our Rape Crisis Center ...

‘Month of Hope’ at Wilson School

Inspired by the HOPE Week Initiative introduced in 2009 by the New York Yankees, Mr. Joseph Malanga, principal of Wilson School and a fan of the American League professional ballclub, declared January the “Month of Hope” at Wilson.

Malanga called on the school’s faculty Acts of Kindness Committee to choose the charitable organizations to be recipients of the weekly donation ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

Would the Stock Market Affect Your Home Purchase?

"Fasten your seatbelts; it's going to be a bumpy night." ("All About Eve.") While most people misquote this as "It's going to be a bumpy ride," the actual quote works better for the movie. Bette Davis delivers this with the classic style that made her one of the most loved actresses of her generation.

Well for the stock market it’s been a wild bumpy ...

Good News in NJ for Veterans

Beginning in the 2017 tax year, New Jersey will give an additional $3,000 exemption for military veterans. You are eligible to claim this exemption NJ state income tax return if you are a military veteran who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States on or before the last day of the tax year.

 

The ...

Sinai or Sanctuary?

 

 

And in the beginning, G‑d was homeless, and so G‑d asked His people to set Him up with some digs. Where does it say that? Well, nowhere, actually. But it does say that G‑d instructed Moses to tell the people, “They shall make for Me a Sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.”

Now the question is, was G‑d really homeless? ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 13, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Love Craft Beer But Hate the Tour? State Assembly Moves to Make it Easier for You to Belly Up to the Bar

Good news is a brew for New Jersey craft beer advocates. In February 2018, the New Jersey Assembly’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee paved the way for the introduction of Bill A2196, which would remove a current licensing rule requiring breweries and distilleries to provide a tour of their facilities before serving alcoholic beverages to consumers. Currently, breweries holding a ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Is FAANG Long in the Tooth?

Investors love to rally around a stock story. Today it’s all about the FAANG stocks. Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOG) are a major reason why the S&P 500 rallied so much in 2017. Mr. Market is convinced the FAANGs are impervious to a sell-off. “Its different this time” is ringing loud and clear, but will the outcome really be that ...

Imagine a Chatham Toboggan Ride from the Top of Fairmount Avenue to Main Street

Did you know….
there was a time when Chatham kids could ice skate from downtown Chatham all the way to Florham Park? And that a toboggan ride could last from the top of Fairmount Avenue down to Main Street and beyond?

Those were the days!

This was back in the early to mid-1900s. The Passaic River meandered through grassy meadows and woods on the north side of Chatham. The marshy ...

Obituaries

Kathleen Marie Christian (nee Helmstetter), age 73 of Surf City, NJ, passed away peacefully at home ...
Read more

Cops Called for Two People Shouting Racial Slurs During ‘Black Panther’ in Sparta

February 21, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to the New Vision Sparta Theater on Sunday night after a drunken woman and her boyfriend interrupted a screening of the movie “Black Panther” by shouting racial slurs, according to a witness and police.

Former New Jersey Assembly candidate Michael Grace was in the theater when two people started yelling racial slurs including ...