At October meeting, Pennington Council explains changes to Halloween rules and makes committee changes

After much discussion, the Pennington Borough Council voted, at the October regular council meeting, to keep all streets open this Halloween. For the past few years, Burd Street was closed to allow a safer environment for trick-or-treaters.

In 2019, the Council responded to a request from Burd Street residents and voted to close the street so trick-or-treaters could make their way down the street free from traffic. The unforeseen consequence of that decision was two-fold: Burd Street was inundated with children and the other neighborhood streets in Pennington got almost no children. 

Pennington resident, Pam Switlik, spoke in favor of returning to the original Halloween plan.

“My main concern right now is that you are going to let Halloween be what Halloween used to be in town where everyone participated in the whole town and it wasn’t restricted to one area,” said Switlik.

“We did it in 2019,” said Council President Catherine “Kit” Chandler, “and then 2020 was a bit of a pause because everything was on pause. Then 2021 was a blowout year.”

The Council discussion covered the fact that the initial plan to close Burd was put in place to promote a safer environment. But, according to their discussion, the unintended consequence was that trick-or-treating became concentrated in just one part of town. 

Mayor Jim Davy asked Council members to vote on whether or not to close Burd Street again this year. Council members Katrina Angarone, Deborah Gnatt, Kenn Gross, and Nadine Stern all voted not to close Burd. Charles “Chico” Marciante abstained, stating that he would agree only if the Council agreed to close a different street.

In discussing what should be announced, Council member Nadine Stern stated the Council should say: “In recognition of having Halloween being an all-community activity, we have decided not to continue the practice of closing one street.”

In an announcement published on the Pennington Borough website, the police department requested that residents do not park on the street, wherever possible, in order to increase safety in the Borough on Halloween. Additionally, the department stated that there would be no parking on Burd Street between the hours of 3pm and 10pm.

Lights and crossing guards were be posted at South Main Street at Curlis Avenue and Lanning Avenue, and Burd Street at Lanning Avenue.

Committee Changes

Mayor Davy also announced his acceptance of resignations from multiple members of committees. Todd McDonald submitted his resignation from the Shade Tree Committee. Jeanne Van Orman of the Planning Board stepped down from the alternate one position. Amy Kassler Taub will now move to the alternate one position. Mayor’s appointments included Michael Breeler to Economic Development at the alternate one position and John Valenza to Planning Board, at the alternate two position.

EV Charging Struggles

According to Mayor Davy, Pennington received grant approval from the Board of Public Utilities for the installation of a new electric vehicle charger at Borough Hall. That grant was for $150,000. 

“Earlier this year we applied to the Department of Environmental protection for the equipment and that was a grant of $100,000, which was denied,” stated Davy. “So now we are in a pickle in that we have the grant for the installation of equipment that we cannot buy.”

Davy questioned how long the BPU grant could be held for the council to come up with ideas to resolve how to pay for the equipment. Council agreed to research other means to pay for the project.

“We are trying,” said Chandler.

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