The Township Council approved $350,000 for repair work and improvements at municipal parking decks, which include the Crescent Deck on South Fullerton Avenue. LINDA MOSS/STAFF
By LINDA MOSS

moss@montclairlocal.news

In a lightning-quick meeting on Tuesday night, the Township Council approved more than $2.37 million in spending on nearly a half-dozen projects, including $350,000 to make repairs and improvements to the municipal parking decks and lots as well as $256,000 to reconstruct the Rand Park tennis courts.

The session lasted only about half an hour, as the council members breezed through the agenda without much discussion.

The local governing body introduced two ordinances that appropriate money from the township’s capital improvement fund for the parking decks and parking lots and to buy and install a variety of water-treatment systems and controls.

In one ordinance $350,000 was earmarked to pay for: the repair and refurbishment of the parking decks, including cleaning and re-coating metal connectors; installing new calk; and to purchase enforcement devises and signage.

The enclosed municipal parking lots are the Crescent Deck, the Bay Street Deck, the Orange Road Deck and the North Fullerton Avenue deck.

This spring Gary Obszarny, the township director of utilities, said he was evaluating the physical conditions at the municipal parking decks. As part of that effort, Obszarny said he is looking to establish a regular maintenance schedule for work and repairs at the parking facilities, which were put under his purview last December, adding to his role overseeing water and sewage services for the municipality.

His comments earlier this year came after one resident complained about something falling on her truck when it was parked at the Crescent Deck during a snow storm.

In late 2012 the council dissolved the Montclair Parking Authority, allocating its duties and responsibilities to the township.

The municipal parking decks are operated by Propark America, which is based in Hartford, Connecticut.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Third Ward Councilman Sean Spiller asked Tim Stafford, the acting township manager, to ask his staff to look into signage that points out when a particular lot is full and can direct drivers to other town lots with available space.

The second ordinance appropriates $500,000 “for the acquisition and installation of water system replacement design and treatment … water-system control updates” and “environmental cleanup” at Watchung Avenue pumping station, according to the ordinance.

The council also passed three resolutions approving capital spending, with one authorizing $921,700 to pay for two pumper trucks for the Township Fire Department. According to that resolution, the municipality will enter into a master lease to purchase that apparatus from Pierce Manufacturing Inc.

The second resolution provides the $341,000 in funds to acquire new record-management systems for the local fire and police departments.

Finally, the third resolution sets aside $256,100 to pay for the reconstruction of the Rand Park tennis courts, with the work including new asphalt. The winning bidder on that project was Halecon Inc. of Bridgewater.

At the public-comment portion of the meeting, Israel Cronk, executive director of the Montclair Center Business Improvement District, said that he was seeking to have Montclair declared a Designated Marketing Organization, or DMO. That will pave the way for the township to become a sanctioned tourist destination, he said, “so we can really pull more people in this area.”

Cronk said that one of the linchpins of that designation is an area’s hotels, so he asked if there was any update on when The MC Hotel, being built at the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Orange Road, will finally be open. The governing body didn’t have an answer.

“You get the designation first and then you’re open to getting some grants, which aren’t going to be available until 2020,” Cronk then told the council. “So we’re a few years out, but there’s some pieces that we’re missing.”

At-Large Councilman Bob Russo asked Cronk if he had contacted other towns with tourism designations, such as Red Bank, and Cronk said that he had. He added that the BID is working with the Montclair History Center to create a walking tour of downtown, including its restaurants.

In other business, the council also appointed José German, head of the Northeast Earth Coalition Inc., to the Township Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee effective immediately, with his term ending Dec. 31, 2020. He has been spearheading a drive to create a community demonstration garden in Crane Park.

Raffaele Marzullo, who spearheaded the township’s sister-city relationship with his hometown of Aquilonia, Italy, also appeared at the meeting. He told the council that the “abate” at the Italian monastery that hid the Shroud of Turin, the cloth said to have an imprint of Christ’s face after his death, from the Nazis during World War II will be coming to Montclair in October as part of a delegation from Aquilonia.

The Benedictine abate, Eminence Dom Ricardo Luca Guariglia, will say a special Mass on Oct. 8 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on Pine Street, according to Marzullo.

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