Borough Approves Memorial for Alyssa Martino at Liberty Park
North Caldwell Council reviews proposed plans, listens to Gould Avenue traffic woes, and accepts resignation of Borough Clerk.
Alyssa Martino, a 2008 West Essex graduated who died suddenly last June, enjoyed many summers working as a counselor at North Caldwell's Summer Fun recreation program.
Family friend Ira Steinberg could think of no better way to honor her than with a special garden and patio planned in the town park where Martino had spent so many hours.
"This will be a way to remember her and honor her," Steinberg said, as he presented conceptual drawings to the North Caldwell Council at Tuesday night's meeting.
The memorial design calls for a garden area with a paver patio, two paver benches, lamp posts and greenery overlooking the town's soccer fields in Liberty Park. Access to the memorial area would be through the North Caldwell Pool parking lot.
Steinberg envisions the Memorial to be a place where parents can sit and watch their children play soccer or baseball. He plans to acquire funding through the sale of engraved paver bricks through the Alyssa Martino Memorial Foundation.
The Foundation was established by Martino's parents, Steven and Rosalind Martino. Steinberg hopes excess funds raised for the Memorial garden will be allocated to scholarships given to West Essex Regional High School students.
Martino was studying fashion merchandising at Marist College in New York and had completed her sophomore year when she became ill on summer break last year.
"Many people such as Alyssa's college and high school friends asked what they could do to help last year. This is an opportunity now," Steinberg told the Council, adding the memorial garden is a "perfect launching off" for the Alyssa Martino Memorial Scholarship.
After reviewing a conceptual layout designed by landscaper Dino Torluccio, Borough Attorney David Paris recommended drafting a resolution for the Council to grant permission to the Foundation to establish the Memorial area on township property.
"You will be improving municipal property for a memorial with cost to be born by the Foundation," Paris said.
Gould School Traffic
North Caldwell resident Mara Dooskin attended the Council meeting to voice her concerns about traffic on Gould Avenue, especially during student drop off and pick up at Gould School.
Dooskin, who lives on nearby Maywood Court, said her son who walks to school is forced to walk in the street while cars make illegal u-turns on the street and at police headquarters.
While the town had wanted to put sidewalks on Gould Avenue, Dooskin said one house located opposite Borough Hall opposed this. Dooskin said now this house has a car parked in front which forces pedestrians onto the street. "There should be a no parking sign there," she told the Council.
Dooskin also said signs placed in front of the school mandating time limits need to be made clearer.
Dooskin added the dangerous traffic does not occur just at school drop off and pick up times. "Many drivers use Gould Avenue as a cut through. We walk regularly to the soccer fields," Dooskin explained. She suggested the town place a four-way stop sign at the intersection of Gould and Park avenues.
While the Council agreed "No Parking" signs could be placed on Gould Avenue, getting a four way stop sign, Borough Administrator Mel Levine explained, could be difficult. "The state requires statistics for the amount of serious accidents at the intersection before approving this," Levine said.
Borough Engineer Frank Zichelli did say traffic should ease up on Gould Avenue now that East Greenbrook Road has been reopened following repaving. Police Chief Mark Deuer, who Dooskin had previously spoken to, said the police would be enforcing traffic regulations on Gould Avenue.
Other Council Business
- North Caldwell Resident Donald Meserlian, a frequent attendee at Council meetings, spoke during the public portion about establishing Council guidelines and ordinances such as term limits and mandated, deadlined written responses from Council members to resident requests. Paris responded by saying Council members do not act individually, but conduct business as a group in an open public meeting. Paris went on to say that establishing artificial deadlines constricts Council members from conducting research or changing their minds on a particular issue. "There is nothing in statutes that says a Council job has to be performed in a certain matter," Paris added.
- The Council approved with regret the resignation of Borough Clerk and Registrar Susan Best who is taking a position closer to her home. Nancy Pravata, who currently works with the Planning Board, was appointed as the part-time Acting Borough Clerk and Registrar.
- The Council considered drafting an ordinance restricting homeowner's use of PODS (personal storage containers) on their property. The Council would require a permit for the PODs and limit their use to 90 days in a 12-month period.