In a recent meeting, the Park Ridge Borough Council delved into a multi-million-dollar dredging project for Mill Pond, accepted a grant of $1.5 million, and welcomed new volunteers and initiatives to the community. The meeting, presided over by Mayor Keith Misciagna, also tackled local issues concerning property, cable and wireless infrastructure, community recognition, and economic development.
Mill Pond’s dredging project, a significant local issue estimated to cost at least $12 million, stood out as the most prominent topic. Today, the pond is mainly used for recreation. However, it was once the location of the town’s first hydroelectric plant. The project seeks to improve the water quality and support wildlife, making it a top spot for recreation and fishing.
The council welcomed the receipt of a $1.5 million grant for the project.
Community members demanded the project while expressing concern about the costs. Mayor Misciagna explained his apprehension about sediment buildup in the dam and stressed the need for action, emphasizing that “at some point something has to get done.” The complexity of the issue led to a proposal for a non-binding referendum to be held on November 7th, which would also include a five percent tax increase.
The mayor spoke about seeking endorsements and grants, acknowledging the difficulty in securing funds and expressing hope for federal support. He noted the federal government’s considerable resources and stressed the need for collaboration, stating that “the federal government has much more money than we do, and the state government has more than we do; we need their help on this.” Questions about the grant’s flexibility and expiration were raised, and the mayor clarified the intention to use the funds solely for dredging, with regulations expected in October.
Other members of the community weighed in on the dredging debate, with one attendee requesting that the referendum include options and consequences if the project is not pursued, stating, “If you’re going to ask the taxpayers if they’re willing to foot the bill then include in that referendum what the option is if they don’t… what is the impact to the community if we choose to not spend the 12 million dollars.”
The meeting also saw the introduction of a motion to administer the oath of office to the newest Park Ridge Volunteer Fire Department member, Jake Farrington. Fire Commissioner John Ferguson expressed pride in both new and existing volunteers, while the mayor praised the community’s dedication.
An optimistic view of economic opportunities emerged with discussions about a proposed ordinance to amend Chapter 58 regarding filming in the Borough. While excitement bubbled over potential growth, caution lingered concerning potential legal challenges and taxpayer concerns.
The council also approved the Hometown Heroes banners program to honor local service men and women and officially recognized “Taxpayers for Aircraft Noise Solutions” as a Borough committee.
The meeting ended with appreciative remarks from the mayor towards borough employees and firefighters and anticipation for a “much more exciting downtown atmosphere” with new businesses.