Historic Warren County Foot Bridge Park Receives Preservation Grant

In a recent Blairstown Town Council meeting, discussions took place regarding the preservation of the historic foot bridge in Jewel and the Crown Foot Bridge Park, with the council receiving a grant of $70,000 from Warren County Municipal Conservancy for the initiative. The council also debated the longstanding septic issues at Walnut Valley Field and the relocation of Warren County Library Blairstown office, among other community and infrastructure topics.

The preservation of the historic foot bridge became a focal point of the meeting, as the council acknowledged the awarding of a substantial grant aimed at conserving the structure. Additionally, the municipality has committed to providing a matching fund of up to $40,000. The council plans to extend the historic district to include the bridge, which would potentially provide additional points and matching funds for future applications. The recognition of the bridge’s historic value and the financial support for its preservation underscore the community’s dedication to maintaining its historical landmarks.

Another issue addressed by the council was the need for updates at the Walnut Valley Field, particularly the septic and plumbing systems. The field, which is important for the North Warren football program and widely used by the community, has been struggling with inadequate facilities, including portable toilets that are not meeting the needs of families and children. Geraldine Cole, the president of the North Warren football program, highlighted the need for improvements and the positive impact that sanitary bathrooms would have on the community. The council members explored various solutions, including the installation of a new septic system, holding tanks, or mobile trailer-based bathrooms, to resolve the problem while considering the financial implications for the town.

The meeting also touched on the topic of community support initiatives, such as the proposal to set up a mini pantry outside of a church to provide essential items to those in need. The council unanimously approved the installation of a cabinet for the Outreach for the food pantry, allowing 24/7 access for people in need.

In terms of community services, the resignation of the police clerk, Lisa White, was announced, with Chief Johnson immediately hiring Nicole McGrath as her replacement. The council also received updates on the Jones Farm project, including the removal of a wooden structure and plans for roof repair.

Infrastructure projects were a key topic of discussion, including a report on the planned $14 million construction project for the Route 94 bridge over Jacksonburg Creek, slated to begin in late 2027. The council expressed concerns about the potential impact on truck traffic and the need for wider entrances.

The council also authorized the mayor to sign the acceptance of a grant for the relocation of the Warren County Library Blairstown office to Hope, with a drop-off box for library materials to remain in Blairstown. Additionally, the council appointed a member to the Solid Waste Advisory Committee and approved the use of town hall facilities for police training by Spitfire Consulting.

Looking ahead to the 2024 election, the polling location will be moved to the firehouse to accommodate all five districts, with early voting to be available at the town hall. The council promoted early voting as an effective option, citing past success.

The Blairstown Ambulance Corps reported a record-breaking year in calls and miles traveled, emphasizing its recruitment efforts and support to residents without out-of-pocket expenses. The council praised the corps for its service to the community.

Finally, the council expressed appreciation for the police force, acknowledging two letters praising officers for their exceptional service, including assistance to a homeless individual and the prevention of a scam. The council also considered implementing an online dog licensing system and discussed various infrastructure updates, such as the resurfacing of Lambert Road and the installation of a new gate at the dog park.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Rob Moorhead
City Council Officials:
Rob Moorhead, Karen Lance, G. Eric Lohman, Charles Makatura, Walter Orcutt, Kevin Benbrook (Attorney)

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