Local businessmen behind ‘Welcome to East Orange’ Program

Photo by Chris Sykes
East Orange Rotary Club member, Education Foundation member and Chamber of Commerce member Raymond L. Scott stands in front of the ‘Welcome to East Orange’ sign he put up, located at the corner of South Clinton Street and South Orange Avenue, on the border with Newark, on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

ORANGE, NJ — At Orange City Council’s regular meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 7, South Ward Councilwoman Jamie Summers-Johnson noted the number of “Welcome to East Orange” signs posted along the borders the city shares with its neighbor had recently increased dramatically.

She observed that, since Orange and East Orange are “sister cities,” Orange needs to keep up with its neighbor by increasing the number of “Welcome to Orange” signs. The reason for the sudden influx of “Welcome to East Orange” signs is not due to only city government, however, but the actions of local businessmen, such as Raymond L. Scott.

A member of the East Orange Chamber of Commerce, the East Orange Rotary Club and the East Orange Education Foundation, Scott helps people file their taxes. He said he spent his own money to buy a “Welcome to East Orange” sign and post it near the NJ Transit bus stop on the corner of South Clinton Street and South Orange Avenue, on the border between Newark and East Orange, because he believes in Mayor Ted Green’s administration.

“I have a business here in East Orange. Been in business close to 48 years and we have been supporting a lot of different organizations, but I support the city of East Orange 100 percent and its mayor, Ted Green, and his efforts to move this city forward,” said Scott on Tuesday, Dec. 4. “Certain businessmen have already gone on to say that we’re going to put up ‘Welcome’ signs, welcoming people into our beautiful neighborhood here. We have many things going on and Mayor Ted Green is doing a marvelous job putting things together.”

Scott said the signs have been erected at various points of entry from the surrounding communities, and added that the sign he erected had been damaged.

“This thing cost a great deal of money and it was meant so that, when people entered this corridor to East Orange, they would see this ‘Welcome’ sign inviting them to come and get your taxes done, in my case, come to have food, come to get an apartment at a reasonable rate of rent, come and enjoy our city, because we’ve got it going on,” Scott said. “We have the ability to get you to every airport, we can get you to every train station, we can get you to buses, cabs, Uber. Whatever you want to name, we have the ability to do it and people love it. We have the best Police Department in this whole Essex County. We have the best schools and we have the best charter schools, too. The charter schools and our Head Start schools and our Child Development Schools are some of the best in the country.”

Scott said he will repair the sign, but it’s frustrating that the symbol he wanted to use to send a message about the good things happening in East Orange has been damaged.

“It’s going to go back, because there’s got to be a positive image of our city. I’m now a president emeritus of the Chamber of Commerce. I’m with my church St. Matthew AME Church as a trustee and we’re trying to get things together here, so that many people enjoy their lives here in our city,” said Scott. “I love East Orange. It’s provided my living for 48 years now, so I want to see it continue and the younger folks coming up to say, ‘Hey, we’ve got something here. We’ve got something that we’re proud of.’ ”

According to Scott, when he reported the defaced sign to the East Orange Police Division, he was informed he couldn’t file a report because it was unclear the sign had been vandalized.

“We don’t know whether someone had fallen against the sign accidentally damaging it,” said Scott on Wednesday, Dec. 5, after he tried to report the damage to police. “I don’t want this to take away the effectiveness of the ‘Welcome Sign’ program that many businessmen have contributed to the city and are being celebrated for it. I would like to especially lift our city up and thank our businessmen and women for their outstanding support of the ‘Welcome to East Orange’ Program.”

For more information about the “Welcome to East Orange” sign program, call 973-207-3631.