January 2022 Mayor’s Annual Address

Better Together

What an incredible year it has been! New Providence’s unrelenting commitment to community, neighbors helping neighbors, businesses and organizations helping each other, and our community pulling together with the most generous outpouring of help, donations, contributions, and displays of human kindness and compassion, has been unlike anything we have ever seen. This has been so evident throughout our Borough during these challenging times and in the face of all our recent adversities. We came together and we worked together, united in our commitment to stay strong, persevere and help make things better. We have proven again and again that together we are at our strongest. Together we are at our best.

Our battle with the pandemic continued all last year deeply affecting our lives, our way of life, our businesses, and our children. Just as everything seemed to finally slowly subside and return to some sense of normalcy, we were hit again. First by the Delta variant, and then Omicron hit our community with a vengeance. Thankfully this very contagious virus appears much milder than previous variants, but unfortunately it has been very disruptive especially during this past holiday season. Please stay strong, continue to be vigilant and responsibly cautious, and we will get through this Pioneer Strong! We will continue to keep you updated with confirmed information so you can make the best and most informed decisions for your family. Thank you to the Regional Board of Health and especially to our Borough Nurse Jen Aranda for their hard work ensuring our community safety. We also thank all our healthcare providers, essential workers, everyone affected and on the forefront of this pandemic for their good service protecting us. We mourn our lost, and will continue to keep them, all our afflicted, and their loved ones in our thoughts and prayers.

Also this past year, Hurricane Ida descended upon us with an unprecedented eight inches of water in about two hours causing dangerous and damaging flooding. Thankfully our Police, Fire, EMS and our Emergency Management team were all on call and up to the task, heroically handling every crisis and situation, including many life rescues. As devastating as the storm was, the clean up has been even more difficult on our community.  Many homes and businesses were deeply impacted including our DeCorso Community and Senior Center, and all of our pedestrian bridges. Our DPW did an incredible job in a short period of time getting us back up and running, but there is still so much more to repair and replace. Together we will get it done.

Despite all our recent hardships and challenges, we still managed to accomplish so many great things together this past year:

•  Lincoln Field renovations were completed.

•  The tennis courts were completed (KRTF Grant 2019).

•  Harmony Park on South Street was completed (KRTF Grant 2018).

•  Phase two of our streetscape was completed on South Street.

•  Repairs were made to the walking path around the pool (KRTF Grant 2020).

•  Paving was completed on Runnymeade, Dorr, Walton, Holmes, Walker, Hedden, Colonial, Sagamore, Penwood, Kline Blvd & Kline Place as part of the annual resurfacing projects ($50K was part of the 2021 Union County Infrastructure and Municipal Aid Grant).

•  Fairview Avenue reconstruction (2019 NJDOT Local Aid Grant).

•  Glenbrook & Brookside reconstruction (2020 NJDOT Local Aid Grant).

•  Central Avenue and Union Avenue Traffic Study.

•  Pedestrian Rapid Flashers were installed at Marion Ave and South St.

•  Pedestrian Rapid Flashers were upgraded at Springfield and Pittsford, South Street by OLP, and at Springfield Ave and Academy St.

•  We began storm repairs on the DeCorso Center.

•  We held our first Green Day thanks to the Sustainability Committee.

•  We upgraded our Borough computer server and security.

•  We began work on a more user-friendly and updated Borough website.

Public safety is our first responsibility and our number one priority.This year we began a town wide traffic and safety re-evalutation in response to our growing community, which included traffic studies and citizen listening sessions. Our Police Department has taken all this information and will be coming out with a five year plan shortly. In November, we will re-evaluate where we stand on the plan, and make any necessary adjustments. Thank you to the New Providence Traffic Division for their hard work on this and to everyone who participated, contributed, and helped with this project. We look forward to an even safer New Providence in 2022.

We are so grateful to all our dedicated Borough employees who have continually gone above and beyond taking care of all our day-to-day operations, especially during these challenging times. Our Borough services never stopped during the entire duration of this pandemic. And our Recreation Department provided an abundance of new and innovative activities for our all ages. This is a testament to the commitment our employees have to our community and we thank them.

We are also tremendously grateful to our outstanding Borough Council who have worked tirelessly under very difficult and tenuous situations this past year. Every single member is hard working, dedicated, and committed to making our community the best it possibly can. They are easy to work with, readily available, and always supportive in every situation. It is truly an honor and a pleasure working with each and every one of them. Thank you.

Our business community is an essential part of our New Providence way of life. Almost all of our events and promotions in our community are made possible through our generous business contributions. A thriving business community translates into a thriving local economy, so please now more so than ever, support our local businesses by shopping New Providence. We thank our local businesses for their continued generous support of our community.

Great communities are built and maintained on hometown pride and spirit that foster volunteerism and generate tremendous community contributions. That is what we have built here together in New Providence, and with your support, we can continue to build an inclusive, vibrant, safe, welcoming, and affordable community. We are better together!

Thank you for allowing me this great honor of serving you as Mayor of our great community. Thank you for your faith in me and for your continued support. Thank you to my wife, Christine, our family, friends, and neighbors, and all our spouses and families of all who serve. It is truly a team effort. Without their support, patience, and sacrifice, we would not be able to serve our community in the capacity we do, so on behalf of all of us here, we thank you. Thank you all for your continued dedication and commitment to making New Providence a wonderful place to live. I look forward to working with you and serving you this upcoming year. The best is yet to come!

May God continue to bless New Providence and all of you. Happy New Year!

– Mayor Al Morgan