Morristown Tip: Sidewalks, skateboards, sculptures and sewers
The sidewalks and carvings caught the attention of Morristown Council this week.
Sidewalk meals have been extended until Halloween. Skateboarding on downtown sidewalks was prohibited. Electric skateboards and similar transport vehicles have been banned from all city sidewalks.
A sculpture has been approved for a park under construction at the Modera apartment complex on Speedwell Avenue.
In other cases, on Tuesday, city officials authorized about $ 12 million in federal and state transfers of funds for runway lighting and other renovations at Morristown Airport.
City administrator Jillian barrick also revealed its intention to deploy a hybrid system for live board meetings, “well before” in-person sessions resumed.
President of the council Stefan Armington said he was in favor of returning to the boardroom once the COVID-19 transmission rate in New Jersey remains below 1.0 for two or three weeks. The city’s website later announced that all city meetings will now be held in person.
And the board authorized nonprofit First Night Morris Inc. to hold its 30 annual New Year’s festivities in town, subject to the health protocols in effect at that time. First Night Morris, who went all virtual last year due to pandemic reasons, finalizes plans for a hybrid program of live and virtual entertainment suitable for families.
All votes were 6-0, with the exception of airport ordinances. To advise Robert Iannacone, who wants to renegotiate the lease of the airport, voted no. To advise Michael elms was absent from the virtual meeting.
Sidewalk dining permit procedures were relaxed last year to help restaurants survive the pandemic. Everything was to return to normal after October 1, 2021. At the request of the Morristown Partnership, the board agreed to extend the date to October 31.
The vote allows Barrick to continue expedited approvals for sidewalk meals. Starting in November, restaurants looking for extensions can turn to the board, as they did before the pandemic, Armington said. The chairman of the board added that he would like to see data on restaurant capacity since the governor lifted restrictions over the summer.
Barrick acknowledged that it works to resolve complaints about an establishment’s outside activities. She did not identify the establishment.
“Human-powered” skateboards, scooters and inline skates are now illegal on downtown sidewalks. They are also prohibited from performing tours on public benches, walls, rails or “any other public or private infrastructure”.
Helmets are mandatory for anyone under the age of 17. Violations can result in fines of $ 500 and confiscation of devices.
Electric “personal transport vehicles” were banned Tuesday on all sidewalks in the city. However, no sanctions were specified for violations. It looks like these electric transports will be allowed in public parks, Armington said.
On the art front, the council authorized Mill Creek, developer of the Modera apartment buildings on Speedwell Avenue, to release $ 47,673 in escrow for public art.
In a related resolution, the council signed an agreement with the nonprofit Morris Arts to use that money to hire an artist from Atlanta Nathan Pierce to erect a sculpture in Modera Public Park, near Prospect Street.
A total of $ 100,000 had been set aside, in accordance with city policy that requires redevelopers to provide money for public art. In 2016, $ 53,000 of this total was allocated to erection totems near the entrance to the Early Street Community Garden.
On Tuesday, the council extended an agreement with Morris Arts to oversee public art in the city until next year; this agreement expired in 2019.
The sculpture proposal was approved by a panel which included Barrick, mayor Tim dougherty and representatives from Morris Arts and the Morris Museum, the administrator said.
“There were a lot of interesting and creative submissions,” Barrick said.
Armington inquired about the public art promised for the triangular Fox Rothschild office building on Market and Bank streets. Discussions are underway with the developers of this building and the 55 adjacent market apartments, Barrick replied, noting that a Fox Rothschild stairwell is the likely location of a work of art.
A portion of the airport funds are used to modernize the runway lighting installed in 1969. Most of the money comes from the Federal Aviation Administration.
“There is no budgetary impact for the city,” according to Armington.
In addition, the council has certified an independent annual review of the city’s tax operations. “It’s a pretty good audit,” said the chairman of the board.
TALKING ABOUT SEWER
A move to spend $ 250,000 on improvements to the sewage plant has sparked discussion about sewers.
The facility, a fully sewage-funded utility, is operating at less than half of its capacity – so it can easily accommodate Morristown’s rapid development, Barrick said, responding to Iannaccone.
In a noteworthy aside, Barrick revealed that solar panels installed for $ 4.9 million in 2009 did not generate anticipated surpluses – or even paid for themselves.
So far, the sewer service has raised $ 1.9 million through a state exchange in which power companies buy credits to help meet their obligations to generate energy from renewable sources.
Solar panels were making up to $ 400,000 a year at the start. But in recent years, the figure has averaged around $ 100,000, which is enough to cover the sewer plant’s electricity bills, Barrick said.
“Since the signs are in place, it’s worth keeping them,” she said. But she would no longer recommend solar projects. Armington plans to install solar panels at the town’s recycling center.
The Morristown Housing Authority is installing 19 surveillance cameras in its senior citizens’ buildings, halls and parking lots, the city councilor reported David silva, liaison with the MHA.
The authorities said video footage aided their investigation into a fatal shootout in the Manahan Village social housing district in August.
Meanwhile, Zufall Health is coordinating with MHA to administer Pfizer’s COVID booster vaccines to eligible residents. And the housing authority has renovated a boxing ring and will hire an organization to run a boxing program, Silva said.
In other vaccination news, Barrick said Atlantic Health gave 57 injections of COVID last month Morristown Jazz and Blues Festival.
Vaccine against influenza will be offered at the town hall on Friday, October 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments are required; call 973-796-1975. Free for seniors and city employees; $ 15 for other residents.
Registered voters can vote in advance of the November 2 election, in room 201 of the town hall from October 23 to 31. A ballot drop box will also be behind Town Hall for early voting.
Finally, Armington asked the council to review the regulation of sidewalk planters.
Christmas flags and decorations are allowed by city codes, he said, but nothing standardizes the placement of planters so that they do not interfere with pedestrians, or specifies how to maintain them so that ‘they improve the city center. Many companies have such boxes, and most are beautiful, he said.