Westwood Council Greenlights Community Center and Brookside Park Improvements Amid Packed Meeting

In a marathon session that underscored the challenges and opportunities facing the Borough of Westwood, New Jersey, the Mayor and Council passed a series of critical ordinances and resolutions on June 13, 2023, including the significant approval of funds for improving the community center and Brookside Park.

Presided over by Mayor Arroyo, the Council meeting showcased a broad swath of local governance in action, from sidewalk repair to animal rights to senior services. Councilmember Bicocchi was absent, and Councilmember Greco arrived late.

Most notably, the Council unanimously approved Ordinance #23-15, which allocates $70,000 for improvements to the Community Center and the installation of an irrigation system at Brookside Park. The funds will be drawn from the Borough’s General Capital Fund Surplus and the Recreation Trust Fund. This allocation represents a significant investment in the local community’s infrastructure, supporting both recreation and communal activities.

Several other key ordinances were considered and passed, including Ordinance #23-14, focusing on the definition and usage of the General Capital Fund Surplus, and Ordinance #23-16, which seeks $10,000 for a walkway cover at the Police Department entrance.

The latter ordinance stirred significant public interest, with resident Richard Thomas voicing concerns over the cost and necessity of the project. After discussion, the Council clarified that the measure prioritized safety, particularly concerning ice accumulation and police ingress/egress, and passed the ordinance.

Additionally, the council passed Ordinance #23-19, introducing a prohibition on the sale of dogs and cats by retail pet stores. The ordinance reflects a growing trend toward animal welfare consciousness in local governments.

Various topics discussed during the meeting included Council President Montana’s discussion on the ABC Legislation and the potential impact on existing licenses. In response to concerns, the Council decided to prepare two opposing resolutions for the next meeting.

Eagle Scout Liam McDevitt gained approval for his project to construct a supply shed at Westvale Park’s A Field. And in a move signaling a return to normalcy after COVID-19 disruptions, Councilmember Hodges proposed, and the Council agreed, to reinstate a $5 fee for employee parking tags.

The Council also discussed and passed several other ordinances and resolutions, demonstrating its commitment to maintaining the health, safety, and overall quality of life in the Borough of Westwood. These included issues ranging from revising street opening ordinance for clarity, to increasing escrow, to a proposed refurbishment of the Voorhis Park basketball courts.

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