FANWOOD — It’s so far, so good when it comes to how well the borough’s ordinance permitting dogs in the parks is working out.
Public Works Director Clint Dicksen told the borough council at its meeting on Monday that his staff has seen “no difference” in the conditions of the parks and the parks’ infrastructure since the ordinance was passed in the summer of 2022.
“Nothing has gone awry,” he said, adding that residents are cleaning up after their dogs and “the program is working out well.”
He joked that the only difference now is that, “when we enter a park and we see somebody with a dog, they’re giving us a hearty wave” rather than “hurrying up to get out of the park.”
There have been discussions over the past year and a half about adding receptacles for pet waste, but Mr. Dicksen did not feel it was necessary yet. Especially during the summer months, those receptacles can get “a little stinky” when exposed to hot temperatures, he said. Depositing dog waste into regular trash cans is preferable at this time, Mr. Dicksen said, because the other trash tends to “mask” any odors from the pet waste.
In other business, Mayor Colleen Mahr spoke about the board of education’s just-completed survey seeking residents’ input on what they would support in a bond referendum that will likely be held next September to finance a variety of options intended to address classroom space constraints amid recent increases to the student population.
First and foremost is the board’s potential purchase and refurbishment of the 36,000-square-foot First Children School on La Grande Avenue, which was formerly a board of education building and, more recently, Children’s Specialized Hospital.
The Scotch Plains-Fanwood School District had 5,544 students in the 20222023 school year, a sharp increase from the 5,320 students in the 20202021 school year, according to the state Department of Education.
Mayor Mahr said “an important piece not to get lost in the discussion” is that the project will be eligible for state aid equal to as much as 34 percent of the project’s cost.
The council also passed an ordinance that will boost smoke-detector and carbon-monoxide-detector inspection fees to align them more with what neighboring towns are charging. The borough’s annual holiday celebration will be held on Sunday, December 3, starting at 2:30 p.m. Parents wanting their children to sit on Santa’s lap need to pre-register on the borough website.