Borough Could House NJ 'Great Space'
Chatham Borough Councilmen Vicki Fife and Len Resto plan to submit Memorial Park to New Jersey's Great Places program.
Two members of the Chatham Borough Council have big plans for Memorial Park and Pool.
Councilmen Vicki Fife and Len Resto are compiling an application to get the entire Memorial Park complex—from the municipal pool to the softball fields, from the 9/11 Memorial to the Library of the Chathams—named as a Great Public Space in New Jersey.
Fife said, "For all the right reasons we think the whole complex, with the 9/11 Memorial and the Library [of the Chathams] and the rain garden and all of those things, make it this 'perfect storm' space right in the middle of Chatham Borough."
Elements of the complex, including the 9/11 Memorial and the rain garden, were made possible through donations volunteer efforts and free labor. Others, such as the recent pool and field renovations, were supported using tax dollars which residents voted to pay.
The Great Public Space title is offered under the umbrella of Great Places, a program from the New Jersey chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-NJ). The other two titles available are Great Streets and Great Neighborhoods.
According to the APA-NJ, Great Places in the state "offer better choices for where and how people work and live. They are enjoyable, safe, and desirable. They are places where people want to be — not only to visit, but to live and work every day."
Nominations are due by July 31. Winners are chosen by the character of the space "rather than a checklist of mandated characteristics," according to the website.
Resto said Memorial Park will fit the criteria the APA-NJ is looking for. "It really has something for everybody," he said. "It has the pool, the athletic fields and the playground for active recreation, and it has the picnic area and the library for passive recreation."
Areas designated as Great Streets, Great Neighborhoods and Great Public Spaces will be featured on the APA-NJ's website and in the magazine "The Jersey Planner."
If Memorial Park is selected as a Great Public Space, the APA-NJ will hold a designation ceremony and educational activities in October, which is Community Planning Month. Winners will also be nominated to APA's 2013 Great Places in America program.