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Scotch Plains – Fanwood THE TIMES
OUR 40th YEAR – ISSUE NO. 41-99 Published Every Thursday USPS 485200
Periodical – Postage Paid at Scotch Plains, N.J. Thursday, October 14, 1999
of of of of of
— Serving Scotch Plains and Fanwood Since 1959 —
INDEX INDEX INDEX INDEX INDEX
Arts................Page 20 Business ........ Page 18 Classifieds ..... Page 19
Editorial ........ Page 4 Mountainside Page 3 Obituary ........ Page 10
Religious ....... Page 11 Social ............ Page 6 Sports ............ Page 13
CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
Council to Present Resolution Seeking Study Of Alternative Locations for Post Office By SUZETTE F. STALKER
Specially Written for The Times
Borough Council members are expected to vote at their regular meeting tonight, October 14, on a resolution that could pave the way for relocation of the Fanwood Post Office to an area better able to handle the facility’s customer volume.
The council resolution asks the North Jersey District Post Office to investigate alternate sites for the borough facility, which for the past 35 years has been located on South Avenue near Martine Avenue.
Because the facility does not have a large parking lot, customers have often been forced to park opposite the Post Office and cross South Avenue, or in the Scotchwood Florist lot on the same side of the street.
Republican Councilman Louis C. Jung proposed at the council’s July regular meeting that the Post Office be moved to a half-block area bordered by Martine, South and LaGrande Avenues, along with Second Street, which he has described as the “core commercial area” of the downtown.
A resolution supporting relocation of the Post Office was not placed on the council’s agenda at that time, however. Mayor Maryanne S. Connelly said then that there was a “general feeling” among officials that the time was not right to introduce such a measure, but that this did not mean it could not happen at a later date.
Councilman Jung, who is running for Mayor on the Republican ticket this year, has maintained since the summer that moving the Post Office there would enable it to serve as an “anchor store” for businesses along South Avenue.
Mr. Jung has envisioned the proposal as a key part of the borough’s
CONTINUED ON PAGE 12
Cross County Rail Study Must Have County Consensus
By DEBORAH MADISON
Specially Written for The Times
A Cross County Rail Link Study, commissioned by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, has concluded that the “county must come to a consensus as to their objectives and goals before the project can progress.”
The study, which was conducted by Raytheon Infrastructure Inc. of New York, evaluated the various options for a 17-mile rail link running from Newark International Airport through midtown Elizabeth and onto Plainfield.
According to the study, the rail link is expected to generate an additional 20,000 daily riders, at a cost of anywhere from $76 million to $221 million, depending on the types of trains employed. The eight alternative options proposed in the study include a mixture of choices of diesel and electric trains between the various stations.
According to the study, “divergent opinions within affected communities regarding both the optimum mode of service and the location of transfer stations” were discovered, which prevented Raytheon, in their study from determining a “Locally Preferred Alternative” (LPA).
For this reason, the study was split into two segments, with the Midtown Elizabeth to Newark Airport segment at an advanced stage in development.
Steven Santoro, a Project Manager for Raytheon and James Daley, the county’s Director of Policy and Planning, presented the study to the county’s Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) and members of the Raritan Valley Coalition, at the Advisory Board’s last meeting held on October 6 at the county’s Administration Building in Westfield.
Union County Officials and representatives of the nine communities
involved were also in attendance. The presentation included schematic drawings of the proposed project as well as a subjective rating comparing each of the eight options’ advantages.
The first portion of the link to be completed will be the rail line connecting midtown Elizabeth with the monorail system at Newark International Airport, estimated at $239 million, according to the study.
This part of the project has been advanced to the stage of having had an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) completed, which is the essential first step in the process, before beginning construction, slated to begin within two years, according Jeffrey A. Warsh, Executive Director of NJ Transit.
According to NJ Transit’s Acting Assistant Executive Director for Planning, James Reddicker, an EIS looks at all of the environmental factors which may impact surrounding communities by construction of the project, and includes such diverse issues as traffic flow, ground-water impact, zoning and wildlife.
An EIS is required before a project can become eligible for federal funds, which this project expects to heavily rely on, according to Mr. Reddicker.
For points west of Elizabeth, the most expensive of the options to construct, at a cost of approximately $221 million, would be running light rail (electric) from Elizabeth to Plainfield. The least expensive option would connect points west of Elizabeth using additional and upgraded push-pull diesel train cars, which are currently utilized on the Raritan Valley Line.
The cost of that option would be $76 million. The other six options propose running light rail to several alternative stations, such as Cranford
Environmentalists Vow to Fight Plan To Put Ballfields in Reservation By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Times
While Scotch Plains officials are hailing a plan to develop ballfields in the Union County-owned Ashbrook Reservation, environmental groups
fear the plan will only exacerbate flooding problems along the Robinsons Branch of the Rahway River that runs through the reservation.
Scotch Plains wants to develop 25 of the 600-acre reservation into two regulation soccer fields, a baseball field, a Little League/softball field and jogging trail. A concession area and restrooms are also included in the $2 million proposal.
While no formal action has been taken, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has agreed to lease the 25 acres to be developed at a $1 annually for the 99 years.
The recreation development would be paid for through an open space and recreation fund.
That fund would be replenished through a tax of 2 cents per $100 of assessed valuation or $23 to the average Scotch Plains home owner, according to Township Administrator Thomas K. Atkins. The tax would cease after 10 years in accordance with state law.
Township voters will decide that the open space issue through a referendum on the Tuesday, November 2, election ballot.
Environmentalists say, due to the
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Scotch Plains Officials Express Importance of Passage Of Open Space Referendum by Voters in Township By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Times
With all Scotch Plains athletic associations backing an open space and recreation trust fund in the township, officials this week made their best pitch to gain the support of voters. A referendum will appear on the ballot during the Tuesday, November 2 General Elections.
Meeting with The Times in the Municipal Building last Friday, Mayor Geri M. Samuel, Township Administrator Thomas E. Atkins, Recreation Department Director Laura Sanson Botto and Recreation Commission Chairman Ed Zazzali all pressed what they believe is a vital vote for the township.
If approved, residents would be taxed two cents per $100 of assessed valuation, which for the averaged assessed property of $116,000 in Scotch Plains comes to $23 a year.
The tax breaks down to $20 per every $100,000 of assessed valuation.
Mayor Samuel explained that the tax would channel another $187,000 annually into the township’s coffers and $2 million over the course of the 10-year life of the open space fund.
The money would be used primarily to fund the creation of two baseball fields, two soccer fields and a three-quarters-of-a-mile walking/ jogging path made from wood chips on 25 acres in the northern section of the 600-acre Ashbrook Reservation. Lights, restroom facilities, concession stands and parking would also be included in the $2 million plan.
The project was developed by Millburn-based Killam Associates, a professional engineering consulting firm. The President of the Millburnbased company, Nicholas DeNichilo, resides in Scotch Plains not far from the proposed recreational complex.
The site is located off Raritan Road and the Martine Avenue extension and across the reservation from the Union County Vocational-Technical Schools.
The county has agreed to lease the area to Scotch Plains at $1 per year for the next 99 years.
Based on what they perceive is the presence of wetlands, several envi
ronmental groups intend to oppose the lease agreement at public hearings to be conducted by the Scotch Plains Township Council and the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
In addition to the new recreational facility concept, other proposed uses of the open space fund include the expansion of Brookside Park and a
new south side park. “We need more recreational facilities,” Mayor Samuel stated.
The proposed new park facilities are also just a quarter mile from the Scotch Plains senior citizen housing complex. The Scotch Plains Christian Science Church and four private residences, all of which range
CONTINUED ON PAGE 12
Cheri Rogowsky for The Times
CULTURAL DANCING…The Fanwood Cultural Arts Committee hosted a Multi-Cultural Festival last Sunday afternoon at the Patricia M. Kuran Cultural Arts Center. Pictured above is a demonstration of Hispanic Dance, featuring members of the Ballet Folklorico Sentir Criollo.
Cheri Rogowsky for The Times
EN GUARDE!…Tai Chi Chuan Sword, the ancient Chinese art linking mind and body, was demonstrated by performers during the Multi-Cultural Festival last Sunday. The practice uses slow movements in order to achieve an inner calmness, invigorate blood circulation and enhance the nervous system.
Suzette F. Stalker for The Times
CHANGE OF ADDRESS?…The Borough Council is expected to vote on a resolution tonight asking the Postal Service to do a feasibility study to determine an alternate location for the Fanwood Post Office. A fixture on South Avenue for 35 years, the facility has outgrown its present site in terms of customer volume and parking accommodations.
Some Culex Pipiens Mosquito Samplings Reveal Positive Testing for West Nile-Like Virus
By SUSAN M. DYCKMAN
Specially Written for The Times
The good news is the mosquito population in New Jersey is on the decline. The bad news is a sampling of Culex pipiens mosquitoes collected on September 28 from Secaucus in Hudson County tested positive for the West Nile-like virus.
The virus is transferred to humans through the bite of the Culex pipiens mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.
However, there was no evidence of the Culex pipiens mosquito in light traps examined in Hudson County on October 7.
To date, no human cases of West Nile-like virus have been diagnosed. On Tuesday, October 12, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) announced it was aware that blood and/or spinal fluid samples were taken from more than 30 state residents by health care providers.
These specimens were submitted to public and private laboratories for testing for the West Nile-like virus.
DHHS spokesman Dennis McGowan said a number of the individuals from whom the 30 blood samples were taken exhibited only one or two of the symptoms associated with West Nile-like virus. He fully expects such specimens to test negative.
Mild symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and
swollen lymph glands. More severe symptoms are high fever, stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, tremors, occasional convulsion, coma and paralysis.
Individuals with underdeveloped or weakened immune systems are most at risk.
Additional human samples were submitted to private labs, the DHSS lab in Trenton, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) labs
CONTINUED ON PAGE 12
Scotch Plains Council Implores Federal Gov. to Fund Flood Project
By FRED ROSSI
Specially Written for The Times
The Scotch Plains Township Council passed a strongly worded resolution on Tuesday night imploring the federal government “to provide the funding that is necessary” to make and complete flood control improvements so as to prevent a repeat of last month’s flooding that resulted from Hurricane Floyd.
Councilman Tarquin Jay Bromley noted that New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman had recently called for the Green Brook Flood Control Commission “to start its work in earnest,” but pointed out that the real priority should be construction of water detention basins in the upper area of the Watchung Mountains.
Completion of these basins, Mr. Bromley said, has been delayed by opposition from Berkeley Heights.
“This whole thing could have been done five or 10 years ago,” he stated,
adding that “the reason we don’t have this is inertia,” primarily a politi
Candidates Forums Are Announced
The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood
and the Westfield Area League of Women Voters have announced times and dates of candidates’ forums they will be sponsoring for Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood and Mountainside candidates.
The local TV cable access stations have been invited to televise the events.
The debates will be held at 8 p.m. in the Council Chambers of each Municipal Building in the respective communities and will be broadcast on the TV access channels as follows:
Scotch Plains, Monday, October 18, TV-34.
Westfield, Wednesday, October 20, TV-36.
Mountainside, Thursday, October 21, TV-35.
Fanwood, Friday, October 22, TV-35.
Each political party in the four communities has been invited to independently submit issues to be discussed by the candidates to The Leader and The Times. The public is also invited to e-mail issues to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Fax them to (908) 232-0473.
Page 12 Thursday, October 14, 1999 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION
CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
Fanwood’s TV-35 Weekly Schedule Saturday, Oct. 16, 7:30 P.M.
Millennium Clock Dedication
Saturday, Oct. 16, 9:00 P.M.
Fannywood Day Antique Car Show and Poetry Contest
Monday, Oct. 18, 7:00 P.M.
COP-TV Use of the 911 emergency number and safety around our schools
Monday, Oct. 18, 9:00 P.M.
Wednesday, Oct. 20, 8:00 P.M.
Fannywood Day Antique Car Show and Poetry Contest
Wednesday, Oct. 20, 9:00 P.M.
Millennium Clock Dedication
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
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Cross County Rail Study Needs County Consensus
SP Officials Vie for Passage Of Open Space Referendum
Resolution Seeks Study On Post Office Relocation
or Roselle, and using dual mode locomotives, also called DMU’s, or upgraded Push-Pulls for points west of Elizabeth.
Electric Light Rail to Plainfield would necessitate moving the current Raritan Valley Line diesels to a single track for points between Cranford and Plainfield, and would require passing tracks where opposing trains would wait to pass.
“Not an uncontroversial plan,” Mr. Santoro admitted. Other options would involve riders switching from DMU’s or Push-Pulls to the light rail system at either Cranford or Roselle transfer stations. Dual tracking of both types of trains is not a viable option because of the cost factor involved, according to Mr. Daley.
The County Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) issued their formal resolution regarding their position on the project. This formal resolution was reached by a unanimous vote at the last TAB meeting in June, according to TAB member Paul Mulligan.
Reading from a written statement, TAB member William Wright said that a consensus has been reached by TAB, the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers and Congressman Bob Franks, who “have all formally concluded that the most marketable and least costly means to provide true cross county and cross state service is by DMUfrom theArch(Elizabeth)through Plainfield.”
Reading from the statement, Mr. Wright also stated that the Raytheon Study is “fraught with numerous and flagrant fatal flaws. Worst is the track diagrams showing LRT and RVL single tracks through stations.”
The statement continued, “At a time when NJ Transit is eliminating bottlenecks, Raytheon advocates adding several on a line with good growth now and in potential.”
“Simultaneous construction east and west of the Arch is a must,” according to the TAB resolution. The option, of DMU’s west of Elizabeth to Plainfield, according to Mr. Wright, “offer riders the most benefits of a one-seat ride to midtown Elizabeth, with the best cost factors.”
Mr. Santoro responded to Mr. Wright by stating that he was not in agreement that the above resolutions were “a general consensus of all of the stakeholders involved.” He asked whether Mr. Wright had consulted with Cranford and Roselle Park before reaching the above conclusions.
Raytheon would be involved in the operation and maintenance of the light rail system, and their preference is to extend light rail all of the way to Plainfield, according to TAB members.
While some have argued that light rail or DMU’s between Cranford and Plainfield may seem redundant, “it would offer more timely service and more frequent options to the current RVL,” according to Mr. Warsh.
Currently, a rider must wait one hour, in off-peak hours, for the next train from Plainfield to Newark, he added. With light rail or DMU’s, those trains could be increased to one every 12 minutes or one every 20 minutes, respectively.
According to Mr. Reddicker, “everyone will have input as the project advances and we will repeatedly go through a refining process every step of the way. Until a consensus is reached, we cannot progress to the next stage of commissioning an EIS, and until an EIS is completed, we cannot estimate a time-frame on the project or clarify funding sources.”
A RaritanValleyCoalitionspokesman at the TAB meeting said that the RVC willconductmeetings andaresolutionas to their preference will be forthcoming.
presence of wetlands on the site, they believe the Department of Environmental Protection will never let the plan come to fruition.
William Fidurski, Chairman Pro-Tem of the Arthur Kill Coalition and the Chairman of the Clark Environmental Commission, said the Coalition intends to voice there objections during public hearings that both the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Scotch Plains Township Council will have to hold before the lease can proceed.
The coalition is an umbrella group over several other organizations including the Edison Greenways, the Sierra Club, the Rahway River Association, the New YorkNew Jersey Baykeepers, the New Jersey Conservation Association and the Woodbridge River Watch.
The Robinsons Branch, Mr. Fidurski said, overflowed its banks during Hurricane Floyd, flooding the first floor of the Rahway Library. The branch runs through Scotch Plains, Clark and Rahway. The City of Rahway sustained over $2 million damage from the storm.
He claimed the land in question is wetlands. Mr. Fidurski suggested that Scotch Plains officials instead look at parcels along Scotch Plains Avenue to develop for additional ballfields.
“We don’t believe it (development of Ashbrook Reservation) is fair to the people of Rahway at all,” he added.
Mr. Fidurski said development of wetlands, in his view, would be “illegal.”
James Lynch, President of the Rahway River Association, said the reservation project essentially amounts to a “life and death” issue to downtown stream communities such as Rahway.
He said environmental groups oppose the plan on the grounds that the area is a natural resource, the concern of flooding
and the historical significance of the property.
“It just seems to be the wrong place to be looking (to develop),” said Mr. Lynch.
The reservation is known as Watershed Area No. 7 on the Rahway River Basin.
Mr. Lynch described the land in question as “a beautiful piece of real estate,” featuring turtles, frogs, hawks and several species of birds, chipmunks and deer.
“They want to build a ballfield in a swamp with zillions of mosquitoes,” he stated.
Scotch Plains officials, however, say a detentionbasinbetween twooftheballfields will alleviate flooding problems.
Recreation Commission Chairman Ed Zazzali said a number of trees will have to be torn down to make way for the parking lot and fields. He said the buffer zones, though, would remain.
Recreation Department Director Laura Botto noted that Millburn-based Killam Associates, a professional engineering consulting firm that developed the plans, will take precautions “to ensure that the plan doesn’t adversely impact the area” in terms of the environment.
Mr. Lynch said the number of trees to be destroyed will be significant and will have a major impact on the environment.
He suggested that Scotch Plains officials look at large industrial lots to develop as additional park land.
Mr. Zazzali said there is no land of the size of the parcel at the Ashbrook Reservation available within the township.
Mr.Lynch saidthedevelopmentamounts to no more than “environmental racism” where more affluent upstream towns such asScotchPlains dumpondowntownstream on less affluent towns such as Rahway.
The Arthur Kill Coalition plans to petition the freeholders not to sign the lease with Scotch Plains.
Environmentalists to Fight Ballfield Plan at Reservation
overall plan to revitalize the downtown, saying the facility would generate foot traffic in that section of the business district.
In order for the United States Postal Servicetodo arelocationfeasibilitystudy, some form of municipal government endorsement, plus an indication of public interest, is required.
During the council’s October 6 agenda session, Mr. Jung said he had collected 300 signatures on a petition requesting that the Postal Service and the governing body investigate relocation of the Post Office to the area of Second Street between South and LaGrande. Three quarters of the signers, he said, were Fanwood residents, with the remainder hailing from nine other towns.
While fellow council members have concurred that the Post Office has outgrown its present site, Democrats have called for the feasibility study to expand beyond that section of the downtown.
Council President William E. Populus, Jr., Mr. Jung’s opponent in this year’s Mayoral race, last week recommended that the area near South Avenue and Terrill Road also be considered as a potentiallocation. “Itotallysupportlooking at the entire municipality,” Mr. Populus remarked.
Councilman Jung, although he favors the area between South and LaGrande, ultimately agreed that a feasibility study by the Postal Service not be limited to a specific area.
The section advocated by Mr. Jung includes the 1.3-acre Dean Oil property at the corner of LaGrande and Second Street. On September 29, the Fanwood Planning Board rejected a development partnership’s application to construct a 25-unit apartment complex on the property, which has been vacant for a decade.
Councilman Jung told The Times after the meeting that he did not believe the Post Office should be relocated to the Dean Oil site, saying he would want to get the main traffic flow off of South Avenue.
Following a separate discussion, it was decided that Borough Attorney Dennis Estis should contact the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) about options for investigating reports of contamination at the Dean Oil property.
During the Planning Board’s extended hearings on the apartment building application, it was revealed that contaminated groundwater may have seeped onto the site from adjacent properties.
Although the DEP certified in 1997 that appropriate measures had been taken toremove undergroundstoragetanksfrom the property, board members remained concerned as to whether the lot was completely clean of contaminants. The board was compelled by state law to render a decision in the case by October 1.
Councilman Joel Whitaker remarked that it was vital that the borough look into the contamination reports in the interest of public health as well as the future of the property. “How do we know this problem is not seeping across Second Street or across LaGrande?,” he queried.
On anothermatter,Councilwomanand Police Commissioner Karen Schurtz discussed a proposed amendment to the borough’s bus stop ordinance which is expected to be introduced on first reading by the council tonight.
The amendment would create an additional five stops, including two on either
side of Midway Avenue near Tillotson Road and near Hunter Avenue, with a fifthonSouthAvenue justwestofHetfield Avenue.
These stops would supplement 17 others along South and Midway which were formally designated through a council ordinance last year. Mrs. Schurtz said the additional stops would make it more convenient for people to catch busses along Midway.
Under other business, Councilwoman Schurtz outlined her Public Safety Committee’s recommendations regarding ways to more efficiently manage the borough’s parking lots.
Early last month, the council discussed several prospective policy revisions, among them changing the sale of permits to a strictly annual basis. Permits are currently sold for periods ranging from a month up to a full year.
Councilwoman Schurtz stated that the committee did not feel that the permit sale schedule should be altered at this time, observing that other towns, such as Westfield, continue to offer permits on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.
She said the committee has recommended head-in parking be required at borough lots so that it will be easier to check that vehicles have the required permits.
In addition, hanger-type permits have been suggested since they are more easily transferable from one family car to another than the kind which must be taped to a window.
Mrs. Schurtz said the committee has recommended increasing permit fees for residents to $20. Borough residents currently pay $15 per month, or $180 annually for parking permits at the Fanwood Train Station, while non-residents are charged $30 per month, or $360 per year.
Under the committee’s fee hike proposal, residents would pay $200 per year, or $50 per quarter. Individuals who purchasedpermitsthis waywouldsavemoney, the councilwoman noted, since buying permits monthly would equal $240 a year. The committee has not recommended any fee changes for non-resident permits.
She said the committee did not call for any changes in the waiting list or refund policies, noting that refunds will continue to be granted for whole months. The committee did, however, suggest upping the fine for permit parking violationsfrom$13to $15,accordingtoCouncilwoman Schurtz, who said the average penalty in other towns is $16.
Councilwoman Schurtz said the committee “could not come to a consensus” on whether any changes needed to be made concerning daily parking at the train station, for which motorists insert money into slot boxes.
Officials sought an alternative, however, to the current practice of having two senior police officers unfold and tabulate money from the slot boxes each week. Councilman Populusdescribedthispolicy as“ludicrous,” sayingtheseofficerscould be performing other duties.
Councilman Whitaker proposed that patrol officers or members of the borough’s administrative staff could possibly take over this task. Mayor Connelly asked Mrs. Schurtz to have her committee come up with a solution as to who shouldbe responsibleforcountingmoney from the slot boxes. from 1.5 to 2.5 acres in size, are lo
cated near the site. The owners have all been contacted by the township, officials said.
Township officials said it is the municipality’s intention to enter into the lease regardless of the outcome of the open space referendum.
However, Mr. Zazzali estimated that without the open space tax, it could take the township between 10 and 20 years to develop the property to the magnitude officials have proposed.
Mr. Atkins added that without the 10-year fund in place, the township might have to take “a piecemeal” approach in completing project.
According to Mr. Atkins, Scotch Plains is the first of the county’s 21 towns to put an open space question on the ballot. The governing body unanimously approved putting the issue before voters earlier this year.
“This is the only mechanism I know of in state law where voters in a local government question are directly given the opportunity to vote on a funding mechanism for a specific area,” said Mr. Atkins.
“The voters are the ones that decide whether it goes or it doesn’t go,” he added.
Mayor Samuel said the township may decide to bond the $2 million and, providing the referendum passes, use the revenue from the tax to pay off the interest and principal on the bond.
Mr. Zazzali explained that existing recreational facilities are cramped. There are 1,500 youngsters playing soccer and 800 playing baseball alone, not to mention the adult softball leagues.
“This is something that has evolved as the population has increased to the point where we just cannot provide facilities for the community as well as they would like them to be,” said Mr. Zazzali.
The township signed a five-year agreement earlier this year with the county and Vo-Tech for use of a field on the school property. Vo-Tech uses the field during the evening while the township’s Recreation Department schedules sports programs after school and on weekends. The field, located in front of Vo-Tech, is used for soccer, softball and baseball.
The township uses the field for soccer in the fall and baseball in the spring.
The township has six fields, three of which are used for men’s softball games. Three smaller fields are used for girls and women’s softball. There are no township-operated regulation baseball fields, officials said.
The only three regulation baseball fields in Scotch Plains are located on
Board of Education property. Scotch Plains has no lighted ball fields on township property. The school district also has four soccer fields.
The Recreation Department runs its soccer programs on multi-purpose fields which are also used for baseball. There are only two soccer fields on township property. In the spring, soccer and baseball leagues use the same fields, although the games are scheduled at different times.
Scotch Plains’ plan for the athletic complex mirrors a plan by the now defunct Union County Parks Commission some 29 years ago for the same site. That plan included an ice hockey skating rink, tennis courts and a baseball field, according to Mr. Zazzali.
Another difference in the two plans is that the new one includes sprinkler and irrigation systems along with a detention basin for proper drainage.
Mr. Zazzali said he wants the project completed in a way that minimizes maintenance costs to the town while giving taxpayers “the most bang for their buck.”
He emphasized that the plan is “not etched in stone.” Amendments can be made to enhance the project.
Mr. Zazzali said the project would benefit all residents — kids, adults and seniors alike.
Township officials said there is no property comparable in size to the Ashbrook parcel within the control of the municipality. The Township Administrator said purchasing a lot of this size on the commercial market would be cost-prohibitive.
Mr. Atkins estimated it would cost the town $5 million to buy such a lot at today’s market values. Based on state and national estimates, he said the township is only between 39 to 50 percent of where it should be for recreational acreage.ScotchPlainscurrently has 90 acres of park land, or 10 acres per 1,000 residents.
“Nota lot,”observedMayorSamuel. Based on its population of 22,000 residents, the township should have 200 acres of park land, Mr. Zazzali noted.
“Before the (November) election they(residents) hadspokenquiteloudly (in favor of the plan). But until they vote, we just don’t know,” he said.
Theyhavevowed tocontinuetopush to gain passage of the referendum.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Some Mosquito Samplings Reveal West Nile-Like Virus
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or the New York State Department of Health Laboratory in Wadsworth, N.Y. for analysis.
These samples, drawn since October 5, were collected from individuals who exhibited four or more of the symptoms ofWestNile-likevirus. Ofthefourspecimens tested thus far, all are negative.
The CDC also released results of the tests conducted on 50 dead birds submitted to the CDC two weeks ago. Thirtyfive birds (34 crows and 1 pigeon) found in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris and Union counties tested positive for the West Nile-like virus.
Fifteen crows from Atlantic, Mercer, Ocean and Passaic Counties tested nega
tive. According to the DHSS, experts from the State Departments of Health and Senior Services, Environmental Protection and Agriculture, along with state and county mosquito control commissions and Rutgers University plan to continue their active disease monitoring and mosquito control.
Residents are advised to continue to take precautions against mosquito bites. These include spraying mosquito repellent that contains DEET on clothing and exposed skin, and wearing longsleeved shirts and pants outdoors. The DHSS recommends limiting outdoor activities at dawn, dusk and during evening hours.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
cal logjam with other localities. The resolution, which states that the effects of Hurricane Floyd “more than tangibly demonstrated the need to have the plan for improvements authorized as soon as possible,” will be sent to the White House, United States Senators from New Jersey Frank Lautenberg and Robert Torricelli, Governor Whitman, Congressman Bob Franks, State Senate President Donald T. DiFrancesco, Assemblymen Alan M. Augustine and Richard H. Bagger, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the Green Brook Flood Control Commission.
During a brisk, 45-minute meeting, thecouncilalsoaccepted abidof$76,162 from Schifano Construction Corporation of Middlesex for the repaving of Rahway Road between the Burwick Chase subdivision to the border with Plainfield.
As part of the project, Nepawin Lane will also be repaved.
Mayor Geri M. Samuel announced that she received a $100,000 pocket park grant check last week from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. She also alerted residents that Lamberts Mill Road will be closed all day next Wednesday, October 20, for road work.
The council also congratulated Boy Scout Steven Cole for having achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Mayor Samuel also proclaimed the month of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Lupus Awareness Month.
Separately, the council passed a resolution endorsing a proposal to return the battleship USS New Jersey to a Hudson River site and establish it as an education museum.
The council’s next meeting will be Tuesday, October 26.
SP Council Asks Federal Gov. to Fund Flood Project
County Magnet High School Schedules Information Session
SCOTCH PLAINSThe Union County Magnet High School for Science, Mathematics and Technology will host the first information session for interested applicants and parents for next September’s freshman class on Saturday, October 23, at 10 a.m. in Mancuso Hall at the school.
The information session will answer questions about the curriculum and programsatthe school,accordingtoCorinne Wnek, Student Services Counselor and Admissions Officer for the School.
The Magnet School offers an engineering and design technology-based curriculum, according to Ms. Wnek. The program prepares students for entry into a baccalaureate-degree program.
The school, in collaboration with Union County College, provides the
opportunity for students to earn up to a year of college credits prior to high school graduation.
Ms. Wnek stated that a commitment has been made to develop high standards that incorporate both academic and technical training through an integrated curriculum.
The StudentCouncilsponsorsmany events and dances each year, including a talent show.
For more information or to make reservations, please call Ms. Wnek at (908) 889-3800, Extension No. 201.
SPECIAL PLAQUE…Joseph and Nancy Schott, left, observe a plaque which commemorates the construction of the concrete bench, in the foreground, in the Fanwood Nature Center. The bench was constructed by their son, Robert Schott, in 1974 for his Eagle Scout project. The plaque was installed, along with a fresh coat of paint, on the bench by Fanwood Environmental Commission Chairman and Nature Center Caretaker Dean Talcott, right. Mr. Schott served the Commission for nine years. Nature Center trails were damaged recently by Hurricane Floyd and need wood chips. To help restore the trails, please call Mr. Talcott at (908) 322-6577.
Childhood Committee Plans Special Program
SCOTCH PLAINS – The Early Childhood Programming Committee of the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Central New Jersey will sponsor a free program entitled, “The December Dilemma” on Tuesday, October 26, at 8 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, Wilf Jewish Community Campus, in Scotch Plains.
The program will feature a panel discussionbyRabbi JoelAbrahamofTemple Sholom in Plainfield, Andrea Greenberg ofJewishFamily ServiceandPattiKahn of The Solomon Schechter Day School.
Time will be allotted for the audience to ask questions regarding the holiday times in a two-religion household, and celebrationsof holidaysinpublicschools.
Reservations areencouraged.Tomake reservations, please call Susan Bennett, Early Childhood Director, at (908) 8898800.
The JCC is a constituent agency of the JewishFederation ofCentralNewJersey and the United Way.
Entertainment Books Offered by Arc Group
The Arc of Union County, the not-forprofit organization that serves more than 700 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, is now selling entertainment books for $30.
Two editions are available. One is the northern New Jersey edition featuring Essex, Union, Hudson and Eastern Morris Counties, and the second is the central New Jersey edition featuring Middlesex, Somerset, HunterdonandsouthernUnion Counties.
Both editions feature two-for-one savings on restaurants and discounts with Continental Airlines, Holland America Line and Norwegian Cruise
Line, Avis, National Alamo and Hertz Car Rentals, as well as movie, bowling and sports.
The Arc provides residential services, transportation, educational services, child care services, clinical services and family support through its 19 group homes, live work centers, two child development centers, a private school, four special needs adult day programs and an adult medical day care facility.
To obtain an edition, please write to The Arc of Union County, 1225 South Avenue, Plainfield, 07062, or call (908) 754-2459 or (908) 754-7422.
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