We’ve laid the foundation for a variety of efforts this year. Below, you can find an update on a variety of initiatives that we hope to continue into the new year.
Dog Park. We have a vision of installing some amenities at Varga Park, which would be located in a floodplain. We’ve asked our engineer to conduct an environmental study of the area and provide recommendations. Currently we’re reviewing the environmental rules and restrictions in floodplains. We’ve also inquired with Middlesex County to determine if this project would be something appropriate for funding. They have expressed interest in funding our efforts. We look forward to hopefully completing this project next year.
General Park Improvements. While we’ve made a variety of small improvements to replace aging or dangerous assets in our parks, we’re fully committed to rejuvenating our public spaces. This year we created a review of important larger repairs to be completed in our parks in order to accomplish our goals. In addition, we’ve tasked the Recreation Advisory Committee and the DPW to further compile details to rectify numerous issues. We’re looking to activate additional playing fields, replace aging equipment, benches, and trash receptacles. The plan is to incorporate these items into our Capital Plan for next year.
Community Garden. The Council is committed to projects that our residents express vocal support for. An energized resident, Ms. Denise Batista, has led the initiative and over 40 volunteers turned up for the interest meeting. The Borough has applied for a grant seeking funding to cover a good deal of the startup costs. I’d like to see the Borough enter into a public-private partnership with nonprofit, Spaces Reimagined, to ensure continued stewardship.
Community Center. A young gentleman, Miguel Ribau, who has contributed an editorial on this issue, voiced his support for finding a space for a “Community Center” in South River. There are a lot of logistical challenges to make such an idea a reality, but there has been a circulated petition demonstrating community interest and providing a safe place for our youth makes our borough an attractive place for families to want to settle.
Roads Program. South River is paving six roads this year. We have begun compiling a list to better plan and inform residents of efforts coming in the years ahead.
The newly formed Communications Committee has been developing a wide variety of efforts that we’d like to make more permanent in the Borough. Between the Monthly Buzz, Borough Facebook page, and TV35 improvements, we want residents to be better informed of both Borough and community events taking place.
The Council made an investment into technology earlier this year that has allowed us to launch a suite of online services to assist residents with notifying the Borough of repairs, potholes, police tips, and property information. This is something I’ve been working very hard on and I am excited for the launch of additional services in the next few months. FILE•it will begin the process of migrating our applications to be filed and paid for online. And RECYCLE•coach will put trash and recycling schedules and notifications in residents pockets.
The Borough has worked on a great deal in 2017 to get the heavy lifting for a lot of these ideas started. I’m really excited for the plans coming in the year ahead.