Residents vote to build a special needs playground

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The town’s voters didn’t just have the chance to choose their elected officials in the Nov. 6 election, they also had a say in how their tax dollars would be spent. In addition to a statewide public question on the ballot, West Orange voters had a town-specific public question: a non-binding $400,000 referendum question.

Township officials had earmarked $400,000 in capital funds for an undecided public project. On Nov. 6, West Orange voters were able to choose one of four projects to receive this money: an emergency information AM radio station; Pleasant Valley Way sidewalk repairs between Belle Terre Road and Mellon Avenue; a special needs playground of inclusive play; and an Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center improvement and handicapped parking project.

The special needs playground won.

All results from the Nov. 6  election remain unofficial until certified by County Clerk Christopher Durkin.

According to the Essex County Clerk’s Office website, with 100 percent of districts reporting in, the special-needs playground won the referendum with 5,257 votes, or 51.09 percent.

The PVW sidewalk repairs came in second with 2,531 votes, or 24.6 percent. The emergency information radio station came in third with 1,355 votes, or 13.17 percent, while the OSPAC improvements came in last with 1,147 votes, or 11.15 percent.

As this was a non-binding referendum, the final choice still comes down to township officials.