Mayor’s Corner

August 2015

By Mayor Paul Aronsohn

The Ridgewood News

Welcome to the August edition of the Mayor’s Corner – my monthly Ridgewood News column that seeks to make village government more understandable, more transparent, more user-friendly.

Council Agenda

The council met this past Wednesday and will meet only one more time this month – August 12.  On this month’s agenda is parking, the Schedler property, a senior citizens needs assessment survey and a host of other important topics.

All meetings are on Wednesday evenings.  All meetings are open to the public. All residents are encouraged to attend and participate.

Please visit our website for more information – www.ridgewoodnj.net – or to watch the meetings online.

Parking Deck Update

The Council is moving forward with the possible construction of Ridgewood’s first downtown parking deck.

That’s right.  The days of circling the block over and over and over again – looking for a parking spot – may soon be nearing an end.   If all goes according to plan, parking in Ridgewood could get a whole lot easier.

Here is the plan at this point –

  • Location:  The parking deck would be located on Hudson and Broad Streets.
  • Capacity:  It would provide a net increase of over 300 parking spaces and would accommodate commuters, shoppers, diners and anyone using the businesses downtown.
  • Cost:  The estimated price tag for such a parking deck is between $10 million and $15 milllion, depending on the size and appearance. Our expectation is that we could pay for the deck using parking utility revenues, thus not impacting local taxes, and that we could also obtain financial support from the County and/or State.   Regardless, we will soon be undertaking a financial analysis of likely revenue sources and projected costs, which will be made publicly available to everyone.
  • Design:  Similarly, we will also soon select an architect / firm to design the parking deck.  Working closely with the Council and participating in a series of public meetings, the architect / firm will design a parking deck that will provide much-needed parking, while being aesthetically in line with Ridgewood’s high standards.
  • Public Vote:  Then, on November 3, Ridgewood voters will have a chance to express their views in a formal way.  A non-binding referendum in support of the parking deck will be on the election ballot.  By that time, we will all have a clear idea of the costs, the revenue sources and the design of the parking deck and will be in a position to make an informed choice.

From my perspective, this is a very important moment for our Village.   A lot of careful, thoughtful work has gotten us to this point, and a lot of careful, thoughtful work is yet to be done.  But it is clear that – for the first time ever – a parking deck for our downtown is within reach.

Yes, it will cost money to build.  But relative to money spent on some other programs, services and initiatives, a parking deck in the downtown seems like an especially  smart investment, because it is an investment that would provide a positive return to all who live here … all who work here … all who visit here – now and for years to come.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please share them with us – at council meetings, through email or in one-on-one conversations.  My email is paronsohn@ridgewoodnj.net .  My cell phone is 201.213.1811.  We really want to hear from you.

Downtown Housing Update

In June, the Planning Board voted to permit the construction of multi-family housing apartments in specific areas in and around the central business district.  Strong majorities — 6-3 and 7-2 — voted in favor of the four zoning changes.

In July, the Council introduced 5 ordinances that would make those zoning changes official.  The Planning Board subsequently reviewed those ordinances, acknowledged their “consistency” and then sent them back to the Council for action.

The Council’s public hearing on this issue is set for September 16.  Everyone is encouraged to participate.  Similarly, everyone is encouraged to express their views even before that date at council meetings or through email.

Wedding Congratulations

Last Saturday, my good friend and colleague Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli married Anne Catherine Greer.  It was a really beautiful wedding at Ridgewood’s Christ Episcopal Church with a wonderful reception at The Woman’s Club of Ridgewood.    Everything about the moment was special, and the couple and their children could not have been happier.

Congratulations, Anne and Albert.   We are so very happy for you.

Mark Your Calendars

Sidewalk Sales:  The Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce’s annual “summer sidewalk sale days” is here.  Check out the sales today and tomorrow.

Movie in the Park:  The Ridgewood Guild’s summer film series will end on August 19 with a special event featuring “Harry Potter.”    It will be free.  It will be fun.   Memorial Park.  Sunset.  Be there….