In a recent Hasbrouck Heights Borough Council meeting, community concerns took center stage, with significant focus on ambulance response times, road safety, and infrastructure maintenance.
Jennifer Ober voiced serious concerns about ambulance response times after an incident in neighboring Woodridge, where an ambulance took an alarming 45 minutes to arrive. In response, the council assured residents that, since partnering with Holy Name, response times in Hasbrouck Heights have been significantly reduced to an average of nine minutes. The police officers, being trained as first responders, can provide immediate first aid, although they don’t possess paramedic-level equipment. Given the weight of this topic, the council promised to provide updated response rate information in their next meeting.
Traffic and pedestrian safety was another issue on the front burner. Carla Culkin, a former business owner on the boulevard, shared past experiences of witnessing near-misses and actual accidents involving pedestrians. She had suggested safety cones at major pedestrian crossings and “no passing on the right” signs, yet felt her concerns were previously dismissed. The council acknowledged the challenges posed by the sheer volume of vehicles on roads not designed for such traffic, coupled with the recent increase in local building projects. They commended the police department’s efforts in issuing tickets and surveying for better lighting, but the broader sentiment was that the solution lies in the community’s collective responsibility and personal accountability, not just heightened police presence.
There was also discussion about the area’s infrastructure. Roberto’s engineer’s report highlighted the 2023 road improvement program, which has seen some delays, but Woodside Avenue improvements are in progress. Concerns over accessing certain regions were discussed, with safety being a paramount concern. The condition of certain areas, particularly regarding drainage and the risk of flooding, was pointed out. Stagnant water in the Franklin Avenue basin was a recurring concern, with council members feeling that annual maintenance isn’t enough.
In light of recent resignations, new appointments to key roles were announced. George Tilden was appointed as a sanitation driver, and Michael Magnifico will be taking up a role as a maintenance mechanic in the DPW.
Financially, the borough seems to be on solid ground. The finance report showcased a cash balance increase of $1 million, resulting in an end-of-August balance of $6.6 million. A boost in interest rates and exceeding projected revenues further solidified this positive trend. The borough’s audit received commendations for being “very clean.”
Lastly, there was an extensive discussion about the importance of recreational space. A proposal was introduced to repurpose Myers Park to cater to activities other than basketball, suggesting the potential addition of pickleball courts. With the easing of Covid restrictions, adult basketball and volleyball games are set to resume.