BLOOMFIELD, NJ — The township has put out the welcome mat at key entry points into the municipality to let travelers, and for that matter, returning residents, know that what makes Bloomfield special is the unity of the people who live or work here.
The welcome mats are welcome signs, and they were the idea of Brookdale Elementary School fifth-grader Nicholas Polidoro. Nicholas presented his idea to the township council last year. The council accepted it and sponsored a contest for an appropriate slogan to adorn the sign and speak on behalf of the township.
The winning entry, voted on by the council, was submitted by Bloomfield High School student Raynia Price. Raynia’s suggestion was, “Our Unity Makes Our Community.” Nine signs were scheduled to be installed overall. By the end of last week, eight had been put in place by the Department of Public Works and Parks. The work is being done by Michael Greco and Ray Gaime.
According to Anthony Nesto, the DPWP director, sign installations were planned for the five Garden State Parkway exits into Bloomfield. Another sign was to be seen on West Passaic Avenue at the Nutley border with Bloomfield. Coming into Bloomfield from Newark, on Bloomfield Avenue, there was to be another sign. The East Orange border, on Ampere Parkway, was to have one, too. And finally, there was to be a sign on Broad Street at the Clifton border.
“We wanted them in key areas where they are visible,” Nesto said, “and on a Bloomfield right of way.”
He said there was no welcome sign coming into town from Glen Ridge because finding a place to install one in that area was difficult. But, it was a major entry-point, he said, and a place would probably be found. As for the ones coming off the Parkway, they were on property controlled by the Parkway, but his workers would trim the grass around them.
“The posts are 6 feet,” Nesto said. “They go underground 2 feet and extend 4 feet above the ground. They were made by a local business.”
According to Nesto, each sign cost $500.
“The mayor and council let my staff determine where to put them,” he said. “I counted on my grounds supervisor, Stephen Siciliano. He maintains all our right of ways. All the work was done in-house and the mayor and council signed off on it.”
Nesto said the signs were graffiti-resistant.