The town of Westfield is blessed with many public parks that contribute to the natural beauty of our great town. Over the past four years, I have worked hard with the mayor and council to improve these public spaces and preserve the charming character of our town.

Mindowaskin Park is approaching its centennial celebration in 2018. Over the past year, the Public Works Department has partnered with the Friends of Mindowaskin Park, the Mayor’s Green Team and local volunteers to make numerous improvements to the park. Mindowaskin Pond was dredged to restore the pond to its full depth, reduce algae and improve the water quality. Spring and fall clean ups have eliminated brush and debris, replenished mulch and added new plantings and landscaping. Still to come are new light poles and improved pathways.

The mayor and council worked with the Westfield Foundation to create Foundation Park near the South Avenue circle.  Foundation Park has become a key location for the Sweet Sounds of Downtown Jazz nights. Nearby we have several war memorials, the September 11th memorial and the Dr. Martin Luther King monument, which have been landscaped and maintained by our Public Works Department. Work has also begun on two parks that serve as gateways to the town, the intersections of North Ave/Dudley Ave and South Ave/Cacciola Place.

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The town has many recreational parks, including Tamaques Park, Memorial Park and Gumbert Park. Plans are in advanced stages for new fields, a field house with a meeting room and bathrooms, additional parking and new landscaping in Tamaques Park. Plans are also being finalized for bathrooms at Memorial Park. Gumbert Park remains a top baseball facility due to the ongoing maintenance of the fields by our Public Works Department.

In addition to the work we’ve done on our town parks, we have made several improvements that will help preserve the charming beauty of our tree-lined streets. In 2015, the mayor and council passed an ordinance to help prevent the clear cutting of trees on residential lots. The ordinance requires anyone wishing to cut down three or more mature trees within a six-month period to apply for a permit, which is reviewed by the Tree Preservation Commission. Based on recommendations of the TPC, the town can deny the removal of trees, require the planting of replacement trees or require a donation to Westfield’s tree trust fund for future plantings.

Our Public Works Department has also been busy planting trees on public property and on rights-of-way in front of residential homes. The DPW planted 500 trees last year and we are approaching another 500 trees planted this year. If you would like a tree planted on your property, please email me at doliveira@westfieldnj.gov.

As chairman of the Public Works Committee for the past two years, I have led these efforts to improve our parks and enhance the charm and beauty of Westfield. I look forward to continuing the progress we have made and ask for your support as I seek another term as 3rd Ward councilman.