ORANGE, NJ — Orange City Council President Tency A. Eason hosted a North Ward community meeting at the Crown and Cross Christian Church that was attended by local city and Board of Education officials, as well as about 40 residents, Thursday, Sept. 26.
“A change is coming to the North Ward,” Eason told the audience as the meeting commenced, saying the gathering was intended to address community issues such as school upgrades, neighborhood disturbances, parking concerns and electrical problems.
Orange Board of Education President Lydell Carter began by some new ideas in the district.
“A couple things that folks should be aware of is that the high school is going through a uniform policy,” Carter told the crowd. “It’s new, but it’s an idea that we each have in mind, to make sure that our students can be seen, they’ll be easily identifiable and that the idea of uniforming is something that you really build a sense of school spirit. We really look forward to the things that are coming down the pipe.”
“I encourage folks to come out to our school board meetings,” Carter added, “to kind of get a good look-see of who the board is and what we have planned.”
“In terms of the high school, we are in the process of trying to create much-needed parking spaces,” she continued. “We have demolished three buildings. That process is ongoing. We have high hopes that should be ready in a few months or so, but they’re currently working on getting the necessary parking spaces for the teachers over there.”
Mayor Dwayne D. Warren discussed what’s to come for the community at the meeting, including a new park that will be watched by police cameras.
“In the next ward, in Colgate Park, we’re putting a skate park and that skate park is drawing people from all over the city. And, one of the things that we’re doing that’s innovative in Colgate Park are cameras. Cameras throughout the entire park,” said the mayor. “It’ll cover a lot of the streets that are around the park. Our next effort is to try to get that same camera system in all of the parking of the park and throughout the town. What that’ll do is put the police’s eyes right on our streets, right in our neighborhoods.”
Warren also addressed neighborhood disturbances, saying the Orange Police Department is dealing with them.
“The police have announced several initiatives in the area that deal with neighborhood disturbances on Friday and Saturday nights,” Warren said. “There is pretty loud music coming from certain places. They’re targeting certain areas that require some quiet.”
Also at the meeting, PSE&G Regional public affairs manager Joe McQueen shed light on plans the utility has set in motion for the North Ward, including a new substation on Lakeside Avenue.
“We love to come out to the local community to discuss opportunities and ways to engage, whether it’ll be about the utility bill, whether it’s about opportunities to save or even lighting that may be a concern in the area,” McQueen said. “But more importantly, to talk about some new investments that we have directly coming in the Orange community, which is a new substation, a Lakeside substation that will be replacing one of the older stations that we have in the area.”
PSE&G will be renovating property on 350 Washington St. that was damaged by fire three years ago. The new PSE&G substation is on the corner of Lakeside Avenue and Cleveland Street and there will be a move to the new site.
“The plan is to hopefully start by spring of 2020 and exterior construction of the new substation should be completed by the third quarter of 2021.” McQueen told the Record-Transcript in a recent phone interview.
Regarding PSE&G’s proposed change, Eason told the audience, “I’ll make sure that what they’re putting there is going to be pleasing to the eye. The safety of our students who go to Cleveland Street School, we have to make sure there is nothing there that will harm their health or harm the health of the community.”
Orange resident Jaqueline Kimble also spoke up at the meeting, offering the assistance of the Cross and Crown Christian Church’s new community development corporation to collaborate with city.
“I am the president of our newly formed CDC. … I wanted Councilwoman Eason and Mayor Warren to know that we have established our CDC and we are here to throw out an olive branch to collaborate with the city and see what types of events and programs that they are fostering and see whether or not there’s something that we can collaborate with them to make Orange and the North Ward a better place to live.”
At the end of the meeting, Eason said she thought it had been a success.
“I felt good,” Eason shared with the Record-Transcript. “A lot of information was shared. At least this was the first start, the beginning of something that we will continue. Next time, we will have more people, because people will be interested in what we’re trying to say. I feel good about it, because the information was shared, and we’ll try to be very transparent as we move forward into new projects and new construction in the North Ward.”