GLEN RIDGE, NJ — In a telephone interview earlier this week, Glen Ridge Mayor Stuart Patrick spoke about some of his goals for the borough for this coming year. He gave his state of the borough address last week at the reorganizational meeting.
Patrick has served on the council for eight years. He also served seven years on the library board. The future of the Glen Ridge Public Library was a significant topic in his address. This is his first year as mayor.
In the area of planning and development of borough property, Patrick said the council will review and update land-use policies and ordinances to ensure they are current with standards.
“We have a number of concerns,” he said in the telephone interview last week. “Properties are being broken up. Someone can take down a house and put up two. We want to see how many properties may be subject to this.”
He said Douglas Road and Marsten Place will be paved, to the Montclair border, hopefully in the spring. Herman Street, Englewood and Cambridge roads will be paved, the funding coming from NJDOT and community block grants.
The Glen Ridge Police Department will complete its body-worn camera initiative and there will be an expansion of the Crime Prevention Bureau. The GRPD will also participate in all public school drills, and officers of the Traffic Division will receive additional accident and traffic training.
Regarding shared services, Patrick acknowledged that the arrangement usually has been that other towns provide services to the borough, but he pointed to the joint venture with Bloomfield to repave Essex Avenue.
He sees the purpose of the public library as changing.
“There are so many things today where people don’t need to go to the library,” he said. “If libraries are going to survive, they have to change their historical purpose. We view libraries as a cultural center.”
He thought that in the future, libraries would not have books but instead be a varied cultural and art center.
“For outreach, the library is a central place,” he said.
He lauded Jennifer Breuer, the director of the Glen Ridge Public Library, for her belief that the library is a place where people can come together.
In an email, Breuer said she wanted the library to grow and strengthen its partnerships with local organizations and form new relationships with local businesses.
“Our goal is to find ways to help each other and discover ways in which we can work together to benefit the community,” she said.
A new service Patrick said would be in place soon will allow patrons to make library payments with a credit card.
According to Breuer, the library is currently researching that.
“We currently accept cash and checks,” she said. “There are several libraries in the area who already accept credit cards. We hope to have it in place in the next few months.”
Patrick said there will also be an increase in programming.
Breuer said there are several programs about genealogy already scheduled.
“One program is funded through a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities Horizons Speaker Bureau,” she said.
The program is called “The National Register of Historic Places: The Role it Plays in Our Local Communities.” It is scheduled for April 7 at 7 p.m.
“We also have plans to have programs on Glen Ridge history and using our local history archive,” Breuker said. “All of these programs and events are co-sponsored by the Glen Ridge Historical Society.”
Patrick also said the borough and library will commence its long-range planning process for the installation of remote pickup lockers.
The library, according to Breuer, is currently evaluating the feasibility and logistics of installing a locker system that would provide the community with the opportunity to retrieve requested materials at an offsite location. These lockers would be available around-the-clock, every day.
“When determined, the Friends of the Library would be funding this project, she said. “There are several libraries in the United States that have these lockers already.”