Take time to explore your West Orange and visit the development happening in your town! (Much of which you are paying for!) Grab your sunscreen, camera, and a snack and lets go!
Before beginning your tour, please dispose of any waste in a nearby garbage can. No worries because West Orange taxpayers are now paying 60% MORE for waste services, and over 160% MORE for recycling services. Township Council members who back the mayor just approved the millions in increases by the sole bidder...who happens to employee two very special people: the mayor's brother, and the Town Council President's brother. Here in WO, it's a family thing.
Standing outside Town Hall you may get the chills knowing this is where it all happens! Town Council meetings, Planning Board meetings, and Zoning Board meetings. It's also home to 60% of the women who starred in the publicity film, "The Women of West Orange." Even the mayor's wife, and his secretary were in the film! (We recommend holding off of entering town hall to get autographs since the building was recently found to house bacteria that leads to Legionnaire's Disease.)
Walk by the Downtown ReDevelopment area on Main Street. Ask, "Who in the Cayman Islands owns this?" "How much is it costing me to help build?"
Explore Essex Green! Ask fellow shoppers if they feel safe, or is the area truly blighted as our leaders claim? (Note the two new businesses next to Total Wine.)
Drive down to Executive Drive. Call leasing agent James Bailey at (973) 299-2013 to inquire about leasing space. Are they leasing? Why not? (Why the sign, then?)
Look at the construction happening on Laurel Ave. Is it looking safe? Who owns the property? Why no construction fences? Where's the construction paperwork?
Take a scenic ride down Oval Drive, off of Eagle Rock Ave. See the last remaining, large forest of unprotected trees in West Orange. Your are in the West Essex Highlands! Take a photo, because the land owner and township are working to clear approximately 5,000 of the trees to build some townhomes.
Take a stroll past the new Chase Bank being built on Eagle Rock & Pleasant Valley Avenues. The Bank is gifting WO over 50 new, free parking spaces for residents! And then look across the street at the new, 20-space muni-lot that WO is building. You spent $550,000 for these 20-spaces. ($450,000 for a $150,000 piece of land, and then the (no-bid?) construction for $100,000.)
If you look across the street towards Lukoil, you'll see a "Welcome to Pleasantdale" sign. Touch it, feel it. Ask yourself if it was worth $18,000 of your tax revenue.
Continuing east towards Prospect Ave., you'll see the sign advertising a new Aaron's Market. Toss them a penny, and wish them luck - a new kosher market will be a welcomed addition to our town.
Glance to your right down Conforti Ave. This is where the "Battle of 2018" took place. The WO Zoning Board worked against a family who wanted to build a wheelchair ramp for their son. (The family won the costly battle, but the Zoning Board generals are still in power.)
Check out the land for sale on Ridge Road that WO is now assessing, and will hopefully purchase with our town's Open Space money.
See any new trees that were planted along streets in West Orange. Grab a watering can and help do what the Town should have done from the beginning: Water the 201 new trees.
Continue on Prospect Ave, rolling up your windows as you pass the blighted Essex Green Shopping Center, and you will soon come to the construction site of the new Goddard School. OGWO has been monitoring the trees that were removed, and welcome the new business!
When Prospect Ave intersects with Northfield Ave., turn right. Continue west towards the Turtle Back Zoo. (If you are driving on a Saturday or Sunday, give yourself an extra 45-minutes of commute time to account for Zoo traffic and possible accidents.)
Across from the Zoo, you will see the former location of a McDonald's. They are building a new "Super-Sized" McDonald's, which will be twice the size. (And twice as unhealthy?) There is also a motel towards the right, which will soon be torn down and replaced with a luxury rental building, and a Primrose School.