Summer 2020 Update
In our first newsletter direct from Mayor Sig, we’re covering what’s happening in Roselle Park and all our progress despite COVID-19.
Roselle Park, on the Move!
In year two of my four-year term as mayor, we’re starting to see the fruits of our labor pay off! For the first time in what seems like years (or at least as long as I’ve been living in Roselle Park), it finally feels like we’re reinvesting in our town, and it’s starting to show! Here’s a recap of just some of the work going on in Roselle Park (both private and government-funded projects):
- Westfield Ave. is being overhauled—a project of over $7 million that’s paid for by the DOT, not us.
- We are paving Bender, Sherman, Sheridan, Camden, Prospect, and Seaton, with many more to come (including but not limited to Sumner from Larch Street to Chestnut Street and Williams from Chestnut Street to Charles Street).
- Bus shelters are being installed along Chestnut street— an endeavor that comes for free from NJ Transit.
- The Hawthorne Townhouses are complete, and they look great (see above)! Another blighted area rehabbed!
- A new mixed-use development is coming along at the old “Domani’s” property (see above).
- There are agreements to rebuild the “Sullivan Chevrolet” site into a new, mixed-use development. Finally! (see render, to break ground this summer)
- We’ve also got plans this year to repave and revamp our municipal parking lots, install new meters, and much more!
While COVID-19 has certainly impacted our local economy, the borough and private investors are starting to see what a gem Roselle Park is and all the untapped potential we have. Look around! You can even see how much private, single-family homeowners are investing and renovating. We’ve got catch-up work to do in Roselle Park. For so many years, we’ve neglected infrastructure in our town, and I won’t stop fighting until we make sure RP is as beautiful as it can be!
On another, more somber note, it’s with a heavy heart I need to discuss COVID-19. As of late June, we’ve had over 300 confirmed cases in Roselle Park, and ten of our fellow citizens have passed from this terrible disease. My deepest condolences to those we’ve lost and those who have been impacted by COVID-19. We need to continue to help our neighbors during this difficult time, as well as our local businesses.
For our part, we’ve allowed creative ways for our small businesses and restaurants to serve outdoors, provided masks, and started to create “parklets” to allow your favorite RP establishments to create outdoor dining, where space is limited. I’m proud to announce that, with your help, we raised almost $5,000 for the food pantry and sent out care packages of local restaurants’ gift cards to those in need. Our Environmental Commission also repurposed the town garden to provide fresh produce for Roselle Park’s neediest—and I’m so proud of them. Roselle Park, I promise we will emerge from COVID-19 strong and ready to go.
A Brand New Library – Just Wait Until You See
Thanks to a generous bequest from the estate of Marie C. Roth, the Roselle Park Veterans Memorial Library has received a complete interior overhaul. Last year (as Library Board President), I approved the spend for this project with the full support of the Library Board. Although I’m sad that our library has been closed for most of early 2020, it’s given us valuable time to push the renovation project forward. Our new Library Director, Jenny Binaghi Lichtenwalner, has done a great job with the design of the new building and overseeing the work. The newly reimagined library has more community space, a cafe, and a large program room that seats over 100 people for lectures, classes, and movies.
Holding The Line on Taxes
by Council President Joseph Petrosky
Taxes are high in New Jersey; that’s a fact. But we’re doing our best to help stem the tide here in Roselle Park. As a matter of fact, as Chairman of the Finance Committee, both myself and Councilman Robert Mathieu (5th Ward) have held taxes to some of the lowest levels we‘ve seen in the last 25 years. In fact, from 2000‒2017, municipal tax increases averaged almost $100 a house, per year! We‘ve cut that in half since 2018, and are darn proud of it.
While we are only a small part of your tax bill, we want to use municipal dollars as efficiently as possible: that‘s why, last year, we cut out wasteful spending and outsourced our dispatch services to the county, a move that will save us hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next 10 years! Sadly, due to the financial impact of COVID-19 and the uptick in recycling costs, we weren‘t able to bring down your bill much further this year, but I promise that, as long as I‘m on the council, I will work hard to make sure we level out costs here locally. Luckily, we‘ve got lots of new sources of revenue coming on the horizon that will help us stabilize taxes, like Linden and Garwood have done!
Congrats 2020 Graduates!
by Board of Education President Joseph Signorello, Jr.
As Board of Education President, I‘d like to once again congratulate all of Roselle Park‘s fantastic students. 2020 was a difficult year for our kids, with the impact of COVID-19 hitting our classrooms hard. With that said, I was honored to give each student his or her degree, and we’re looking forward to having a wonderful outdoor graduation ceremony in July! I’d like to thank the mayor and council for being such great partners in our time of need. COVID-19 has brought us together to support each other in many ways; they’ve stepped up to help us with parades, park planning, and guidance on understanding the governor’s executive orders, and we can’t thank them enough for that!
A More Inclusive Roselle Park
by Greg Johnson
It’s been an honor to serve on the Diversity Committee, and it was an even higher honor to be selected by my peers as the chairman. As a law-enforcement officer for almost 20 years and veteran, I am ready to step up to the challenge to make sure we build a better Roselle Park for everyone. The mayor has tasked us with making concrete recommendations in the wake of criminal-justice-reform protests, and we are rising to the challenge. I’m confident we can work with the mayor and police department to make sure every “Roselle Parker” feels safe, secure, and fairly treated. I want to thank the mayor and council for hearing our voices and making sure we have a seat at the table!