January 2016 Mayor’s Annual Address
What a GREAT year for New Providence! Many years ago, there was a slogan contest held to best describe New Providence. Mrs. Young, of Woodbine Circle, won this contest with this slogan: “NEW PROVIDENCE. NICE PLACE. NICE PEOPLE”. Decades later, this slogan still tells the story of our town and our people. I am happy to report that New Providence had many impressive accomplishments this year, but most outstanding by far is that we really pulled together as a community. We held many community events and activities this year including fundraisers, service, and cultural events that not only were enjoyable, and entertaining, but helpful, educational, and inclusive. Over this past year, I have witnessed such countless acts of kindness and generosity unlike anything I have seen in a very long time. It is truly heartwarming. Neighbors helping neighbors. Residents actively participating in clothing, toy, and food drives, giving generously of their time, their service, their resources, and never asking for any kind of recognition. In fact, many activities are being continually done with little or no recognition at all especially through our CSA, the New Providence Education Foundation, Lions, our Seniors, our Diversity Committee, our Community Activities Department, our Scouts, and our high school students (who have been spotted periodically throughout our borough doing clean ups, and hosting special events for our families and for our seniors). Nothing says ‘community’, and ‘teamwork’, and ‘pioneer spirit’ than seeing our young people working and helping alongside our residents, hand in hand. Yes, New Providence is a unique place because our people are so special. The Pioneer Spirit lives on!
A town such as ours does not happen by accident. New Providence is so special because of the hard work, dedication, and constant cooperation with everyone involved. Thanks and prayers to our Police, Fire, Rescue Squad, and Emergency Management who all continually put their lives on the line to protect us and help keep us safe. We whole-heartedly support you and are grateful for your service. Thank you to all of our dedicated employees from administration to finance, from DPW to building and engineering, from community activities to our courts, and finally our library staff, who all continually work and cooperate with each other to make our borough run cohesively on a daily basis. We are especially thankful for all our many many volunteers, who tirelessly serve on our many boards and committees, and non-governmental volunteer organizations. Their commitment and dedication are an integral part of our community achievements. Volunteerism is truly a gift, which is the heart and soul of our wonderful community.
Our business community is also a vital part of our New Providence family. Besides contributing to our community economic growth and development, our business community partnerships have never been stronger. This year alone, we had more ribbon cuttings welcoming new businesses to town then we have had in the past several years combined. We are so grateful for all of our new businesses, but are also thankful our longtime businesses who continue to generously contribute to our community. Once again this year, our business community hosted many exciting activities including a fantastic Independence Day, family fun summer concerts in the park, downtown Trick-or-Treating, the largest Street Fair to date, and so much more!
Our borough is financially sound. This year New Providence was able to secure the lowest bond rates due to our outstanding triple AAA rating, which afforded us many opportunities and additions including: new beautifully upgraded fields at Lincoln Field, a new playground, new basketball courts, and additional parking by borough hall. In cooperation with the New Providence Community Pool Board, new-lighted basketball facilities were installed at the Community Pool. Maple Street and Union Avenue were paved, along with micro-paving of smaller roads. A new traffic light was installed on Maple Street and Central Avenue. New additional downtown parking was installed including a new lot behind Avenue Deli. New sidewalks were installed connecting missing walkways along South Street. A newly renovated Jaycee Park was completed. Veterans Park was expanded with the demolition of structures at 128 and 132 South Street. A new message board was recently installed downtown and should be operational very shortly. We also have plans for a Community Garden with construction being this spring. And finally, the long awaited Mayor’s Forum is set to debut in January, which will feature governmental departments, different volunteer organizations in New Providence, and highlight our various businesses, community events, activities, and promotions on our local tv channel 35 on Comcast and channel 37 on Fios.
Some other exciting additions this year which greatly benefit our community, but not often seen by most, include an award winning storm water outfall at Pine Way, Ashwood Road, and Brook Hollow, which helps prevent flooding and erosion issues. Several sewer linings were completed to stop inflow and infiltration. A shared service radio dispatch center for police, fire, and ems services was set up in our municipal complex in partnership with Summit and Millburn. We have a new agreement with Berkeley Heights to take over all court services bringing in additional revenue for New Providence. New equipment was purchased for DPW this year and a new ambulance for our Rescue Squad. Finally, our Planning Board rescinded the FAR ordinance, which eases restrictions and variances for home additions for our homeowners.
It has truly been one great year for New Providence, and from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone! I am extremely optimistic about 2016 and look forward to serving and working with you. God Bless New Providence. God Bless New Jersey. And God Bless the United States of America.
Have a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!
~ Mayor Al Morgan