Prof Dir 2x8
Deg Boy 2x4 Robert Johnston Stresses
Commitment to Maintain Open Space Areas in Town
SCOTCH PLAINS —Since being elected into of office in 1993, Scotch Plains Councilman Robert Johnston said he has spent his many years in office working to preserve open space areas.
As he runs for reelection, Councilman Johnston has stressed his strong commitment to maintain open space as a recreational outlet for all Scotch Plains citizens.
“Preservation of open space in our town has always been a major concern among residents. I have worked closely with the Parks and Recreation Commission to make sure that we don’t lose our precious natural resources which beautify our community,” said Councilman Johnston.
Over the past year and half, Councilman Johnston and Deputy Mayor William F. McClintock have been working as a sub-committee with the Parks and Recreation Commission to develop a plan to repair and build baseball and soccer fields.
They have recently completed an agreement with Union County to use space in front of the Vo-Tech school for a baseball field which is expected to be in place by the spring of 1999.
This agreement comes under a fiveyear plan which calls for building five or more ball fields by the year 2003. These fields are expected to be a com
bination of baseball and soccer fields with at least two of them included for adult use, according to Councilman Johnston.
“We cannot say yet where all of these fields will be. We are currently examining some existing town property and may need to acquire additional property, if and when it becomes available,” said Councilman Johnston.
Both Councilmen Johnston and McClintock stressed that this is an “action-oriented game plan with a definitive end-result.”
“Goals have been defined; we plan to put words into action as we identify the available parcels to meet our objectives,” emphasized Councilman Johnston.
The Councilman and the Recreation Commission are presently developing a guideline that will serve as the basis to develop and maintain open spate in Scotch Plains.
“We will be utilizing our open-space and part resource inventories. Investigative studies have been conducted at selected parks to examine their potential and optimum use. Under the guidelines, we will review private property which may become available.
“We will also research grants, such as Green Acres funding and other programs that may help finance these projects,” the Councilman concluded.
GETTING OUT OF THE TRAP...Scotch Plains Township Councilman Robert Johnston, who seeking reelection, finds the sand trap on the ninth hole at Scotch Hills Country Club.
Campaign Forum ’98
CONCERNED FOR SCHOOLS…Scotch Plains Democratic candidates for Township Council, left to right, Franklin P. Donatelli, Tarquin Jay Bromley, and Geri Morgan Samuel, stand outside Coles Elementary School. The candidates say a lack of long-range planning by the all-Republican C Township Council is a primary cause for the present school overcrowding crisis.
SP Democrat Candidates Consider Overcrowding In Local School System
picture doesn’t get any better. Efforts by a national developer to construct a 116unit town house complex on a 7.7 acre tract of land on the north side of Route 22—in a flood area no less—will add an estimated 60 additional students. This could touch off a multi-million dollar school construction project, driving property taxes to new heights.”
“At an average cost of $9,000 per pupil, these 60 new students represent another costly bill to be paid for by the taxpayers that could be avoided if the 7.7-acre tract of land is set aside by the council as open space,” the candidate
noted. Mr. Donatelli, Mr. Bromley, and Mrs. Samuel concluded by stating that, “The council’s failure to plan jointly with the school board is having dire consequences. The townspeople themselves recognize that the council missed the boat yet one more time.
“Our town-wide survey issued in August indicates that 95 percent of respondents feel that council needs to communicate better with the board of education about plans to add more residential dwellings in town to prevent overcrowding in the schools.”
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“However, clearly all property taxpayers in Westfield benefit from a healthy and vibrant downtown. Therefore, I have been an advocate in the Town Council of general taxpayer support of the special improvement district in the form of capital projects,” Councilman Goldman stated.
A demonstration of the first of these projects, new lampposts, is scheduled to be put in place later this fall.
Councilman Goldman also noted that the ordinance enacted by the Town Council which created the SID contained a “sunset” provision providing that the district would cease to exist after December 31, 1999, unless renewed by the Council.
“As Chairman of the Town Council Laws and Rules Committee, I have urged that the Council act upon the sunset provision prior to the end of 1998 so that the Board of Directors of the Downtown Westfield Corporation, its executive director and volunteer committee members, can continue development of the long-term down
Councilman Goldman Committed to Town SID
town improvement plan with the comfort that municipal government of Westfield remains supportive of its activities,” he explained.
“One disappointment with respect to downtown Westfield over the past two years has been the difficulty experienced by some of the independent ‘mom and pop’ stores. It is important to note, however, that the SID is not responsible for attracting more chain stores to Westfield.
“That is a function of market forces and deals struck by landlords. The SID has been providing assistance to dislocated businesses in locating new space,” Mr. Goldman concluded.
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Improving and Maintaining Parks and Fields Should Unite
Westfield, Mr. Stoner Says
WESTFIELD Improving and maintaining the quality of Westfield’s parks and playing fields should be an issue that unites town residents, regardless of political affiliation, according to Second Ward Democratic Town Council candidate Joe Stoner.
“We have a magnificent collection of public parks in this town,” said Mr. Stoner, “and our residents are clearly concerned with not just maintaining them, but making them even better. They are particularly concerned about the condition and quality of the playing fields their children use.”
“It is very clear from discussions with the residents of my ward that they are worried about the apparent difficulty in making needed improvements to these facilities when, in their view, tax assessments and other town revenues would seem to provide adequate funds.”
“One comment I’ve heard frequently is, ‘With all the money we pay in taxes in this town, how come we can’t do a better job of fixing up the playing fields?’” Mr. Stoner stated.
“That’s a good question and a genuine concern, particularly when we see our playing fields in constant use by the various youth sports leagues and other civic organizations that abound here. Perhaps we have been penny wise and pound foolish with the monies in our town coffers,” said Mr. Stoner.
“In the very legitimate interest of conserving precious revenue and investing it for future use. We may be neglecting a very important use for our funds that enhances our town,” he continued.
“Westfield has two investment funds. One the town has typically used to invest budget surpluses to provide for times when we may face budget shortfalls. There is a second fund we have used to deposit revenues from the sale of town assets.”
“While that fund may have been originally intended to help finance special projects, we have lately been using it more like the other ‘rainy day’ fund. But I think we would be doing ourselves and our children a big favor by using more of those revenues for improving Westfield’s physical assets, our parks and fields.”
“Gumbert Field in my ward is just one example. Hundreds of children use Gumbert every week — spring, summer, and now fall for organized baseball competition. And often we host teams from other towns there. We need to provide our children and our visitors with better facilities there.”
“But whether it’s Gumbert, Tamaques, Sycamore or Mindowaskin, we increase the value of all the real estate in Westfield by making these places more convenient, more comfortable and more beautiful for our citizens.”
“And we can do that with funds we have now and without endangering our future financial well-being. That’s why I think it makes sense to support the efforts of Mayor (Thomas C.) Jardim and the Town Council in carrying out these much needed improvements to our parks,” the candidate stated.
The candidate invites second ward residents to contact him with their ideas and suggestions at (908) 2328334.
IN NEED OF REPAIRS...Westfield Second Ward Town Council candidate Joe Stoner, shown here on a recent visit to Gumbert Field in his ward, advocates using some of the revenue from the sale of town assets to invest in improvements to Westfield’s parks and fields.
Going to be out of town on Nov 3?
See Page 21