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May   4

A Gazebo Walks Into a Bar ...

Gazebo_3 Hard to believe, but the word "gazebo" was actually an "18th century joke word," according to Britannica.com -- "combining 'gaze' with the Latin suffix ebo, meaning 'I shall.' ” And the one sitting in the glen of Glen Ridge was getting to be something of a joke too. We took this picture on May 21st of last year. After a huge private fundraising campaign, the thing went up ... and then just sat there.

Well, Ridgers and gazebo lovers have to wait no more. This Saturday, during the Glen Ridge Arts Festival, the lovely structure will be officially dedicated. Ribbons will be cut, speeches will be given, people will be thanked, ice cream will be served to kids, and there might even a barbershop quartet. It all takes place at 2:15 pm right before the Duck Race.

May 4, 2005 in Buzz | Permalink


B'ista...Thanks for the pic. I'm sitting in the Dallas airport waiting for a delayed flight and the Gazebo pic makes me feel like I'm almost home. .. Hope to see you at the Arts Fest Sat. If I have some energy I'll bring my cam, you need more pics and less words from MEWS chattistas.

Posted by: Homesick PAZ | May 4, 2005 6:32:11 PM

Barista, thanks for the lovely picture. I am a resident of glen ridge, I wish they would put the Gazebo to good use. I see it everyday when I am on the train lonely by itself. I am sure my taxes went to that gazebo.

Posted by: Magoo | May 5, 2005 7:55:15 AM

I think the gazebo is wonderful--pure folly and a treat for the eyes. However, I hate what the construction of the gazebo did to the bluestone sidewalk up Bloomfield Ave. I'm wondering if that will ever be repaired and if anyone besides me has noticed so many of the blocks have been reduced to bluestone pebbles. I remember last year watching the trucks destroy those pavers as they built the staircase.

Oh well, give and take. Spend and spend again!

Posted by: patrick | May 5, 2005 9:12:02 AM

(Barista, thanks for the lovely picture. I am a resident of glen ridge, I wish they would put the Gazebo to good use. I see it everyday when I am on the train lonely by itself. I am sure my taxes went to that gazebo)

I may be wrong, but I think the money to build the gazebo was raised from donations, not taxes.

That said...it seems underused, possibly due to the location.

Probably would have been much more utilized in the Freeman Rose Garden.

Posted by: Pam | May 5, 2005 12:51:54 PM

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong--but I think that Gazebo cost $60,000. It doesn't even matter where the money came from. I think it's a rip off. I've never seen a soul down there.
The "glen" could have been put to better use....a bandshell, teeter-totters, gardens, picnic tables, benches, or even a skate park.
Watsessing park recently constructed a beautiful, huge gazebo--structurally permanent, and useful.

Posted by: GRme | May 5, 2005 2:03:17 PM

First of all, If any of you have any questions or concerns, about anything in Glen Ridge, please give me a call (973) 748-4020 or email me.

As a general rule, I try not to respond to everything posted here, or on the Glen Ridge boards, because it would take a tremendous amount of time. Besides, I think that sometimes people just want to kvetch, which is fine with me…

I think in the case of the Glen Restoration, the confluence of events and projects has become a bit complicated, and thus confusing, so let me try and clarify things (famous last words).

1. The Gazebo was made possible by the generous donations of private individuals, and by the hard work of the Glen Restoration committee. It was not funded by Glen Ridge property taxes. It is beautiful, and a nice addition to the Glen, if a little impractical for some uses.

2. While the main body of the building was up by spring, 2004, the inside pieces and the steps were not ready till the fall, and the decision was made to postpone the installation and ribbon cutting until this spring (and more appropriate weather).

3. The Gazebo is just the first step in the planned Glen Restoration, as more components of the project come online, the area will become more useful for planned events, and the Gazebo will get more use.

4. Because the Glen Restoration is being funded by donations and grants, and not by Glen Ridge property taxes, getting the money is a slow process, so the project moves more slowly than it would if it had a steady funding source (at least in theory).

5. The stairs into The Glen from the corner of Ridgewood Avenue were not installed as part of the Glen Restoration Project. The stairs were put in by Essex County because they removed the old stairs while doing some road/bridge repairs. The county will be repairing the damage to the sidewalk (and installing an apron so it doesn’t happen again) as part of the intersection project (see #6 below).

6. Separate from the Glen Restoration project, after much haranguing, the county has agreed to begin a number of long-delayed projects in the general area, including replacement of the Hillside Avenue Bridge, and rebuilding the three major Bloomfield Avenue intersections in Glen Ridge. All of these will impact the Glen, and may limit the Glen’s usability in the short-term, but will ultimately benefit the Glen and the residents.

7. Separate from the Glen Restoration project, the Borough is looking to improve the lighting in the center of town, and also looking at improving the sidewalks throughout the town. Of course, both of these projects will also benefit the Glen and the residents.

I hope I have made this a bit clearer. Again, if you have any additional questions, please call me at (973) 748-4020 or email me.

I also hope to see many of you this Saturday at the Glen Ridge Arts Festival, the Gazebo ribbon cutting and the Project Graduation Duck Race.

Posted by: Carl Bergmanson | May 5, 2005 2:08:24 PM

Carl -

Hope you don't mind if I ask a question here instead of emailing you. I like to see you answer questions here because they're often of questions I didn't think to ask but am glad to know the answer to (and don't worry, I've given up my kvetching ways.)

You mention the county rebuilding the Bloomfield Ave. intersections--what are they going to do to them? Any chance they can put in some traffic "calming" measures while they're at it?

Posted by: Lex | May 5, 2005 3:53:25 PM

You rock--
You're a great Mayor. I love that you're connected to the people...and care about them and the community. I know you spend your weekends driving around, cleaning up the trashy signs and such. Bravo.
You also do not BS people--honest to goodness strait talk. You listen, respond, and act.
I think you should get a raise! ;)
Thanks for posting. (Even if the gazebo is useless!)

Posted by: GRme | May 5, 2005 4:21:58 PM

Thanks for illuminating post.

I was not aware there are more plans for the Glen. Perhaps with the additional improvements, both the Glen and Gazebo will see more usage.

I am also as curious as Lex is, about the planned rebuilding of the dangerous Bloomfield Ave intersections.

Speed bumps? Un-timed lights that would require frequent stops? Pedestrian footbridges?

Posted by: Pam | May 5, 2005 5:02:16 PM

Wow, thanks for the kind words (is it still “Be nice” day?).

As far as the intersections are concerned, these projects actually date back about 5 years or so. The county had hearings and gave presentations and got the approvals from the state and then things just stalled out.

Like so many things, it's not all gravy. When redesigning county roads and intersections, there are two objectives that might seem mutually exclusive: make things safer and improve traffic flow. The lights will be timed to coordinate with each other and lights further East and West, just like all the lights on Bloomfield Avenue from one end to the other. This is not optional, for us, or for the county for that matter. The state would not approve the project if the lights were not timed correctly. Similarly, things like speed humps are not permitted on primary roads.

On the plus side, there will be a number of improvements that should make the intersections easier for drivers and pedestrians to know what they are supposed to be doing. At the Hillside intersection, an island will help to funnel the traffic where it should go, and there will be an additional phase added for Park Avenue, avoiding the game of chicken that seems to contribute to a number of accidents each month. At Ridgewood, turn lanes will be clearly marked, and the corners widened. At Freeman Parkway, all that has been approved so far is modernizing the existing intersection, but the County Engineer has agreed that our proposal to eliminate the Belleville Avenue extension and replace the blinker at Glen Ridge Avenue with a light is the right way to go, so we just need to continue to push for it. In addition, all three intersections will have updated and clearly marked pedestrian crossing areas and walk/don't walk signs, and all new signalization.

Pedestrian bridges are not a viable option at any of these intersections.

The bottom line is that all three intersections will be safer.

Posted by: Carl Bergmanson | May 5, 2005 11:47:18 PM

You all might want to subscribe to one of the two GR tree killer publications to keep up on what's going on around town. I hear it's good reading on the midtown direct.

Posted by: Homeagain PAZ | May 5, 2005 11:58:48 PM

Carl, Thank you for your response to questions raised regarding the Gazebo and The Glen Park Project. The Glen Park Restortion Association (GPRA)will have a table and display of the plans for The Glen Park at the Arts Festival this weekend. Stop by and we will address any questions you may have. For those who cannot make it the the festival I share the following "State of the Park" report:

1. As with most projects being funded through donations and grant procurement it takes a significant amount of time for them to come to fruition. This has certainly been the case with The Glen Park! Our Borough's first Mayor worked with prominent citizens to purchase the lands for the park from local mill owner's with the intent that it become the "Central Park" of Glen Ridge in 1897.

2. I resurrected the project in 1997, while a Borough Councilman, as The Glen was fast becoming an eysore at the gateway to our Borough. I hope that most would agree that the property is to valuable an asset to allow its continued decline. During former Mayor Steve Plate's watch, and now with Mayor Bergmanson's support the project is moving forward...albeit a bit more slowly than we would all like.

3. Much has been accomplished with nearly $500,000 raised toward our goal $700,000 through private donations and State and County grants. The Mayor, Council, and Mike Rohal and Mike Zichelli have done a magnificent job with grant applications and the community has responded with donations of approximately $62,000.00 to date. The later making it possible to demonstrate support and therefore enhancing our ability to receive the grants.

4. The grant's are dedicated to the construction of the bike paths, station pedestrian bridge, and a walkway/bridge through the Ridgewood Avenue archway to the upper Glen. Given the process of permiting through multiple State and County agencies these projects take time to put in place.

5. The nature of the bridge project's is that they will create significant disruption to the use of The Glen Park during their construction activities and therefore the committee has decided it does not make sense to invest in many improvements until these larger projects are completed.

6. Not $1 of taxpayer money has gone into the project to date. Further, with the planned formation of a "Friends of the Glen Park" organization The Glen Park will be run in much the same fashion as Freeman Gardens.

7. As to the schedule of future improvements residents may expect to see the following:
A. Gazebo foundation planting will be completed by the end of June.
B. 1st phase planting of the Bloomfield Avenue hillside will begin in late May.
C. The pedestrian bridge to the outbound train platform will be bid shortly, with work being undertaken mid-summer into the fall.
D. Additional Fund raising is underway for the construction of a Founder's Plaza at the southeast corner of Ridgewood and Bloomfield Avenues. We hope to have this plaza installed immediately following the County's planned intersection improvements...likely next spring.
E. The County has committed to repair the sidewalk along Bloomfield Avenue and we are working with them to make the stair into The Glen Park more attractive, with bluestone and ornamental metals railings to be installed.
F. The GPRC will begin planning a series of events to be hosted in the Gazebo following completion of the bridge projects. There has been much excitement about the potential for musical performances,town picnic's, civic events, and possibly our own summer "walk-in" movie theater. We welcome any ideas residents have for events.

There remains much to be done, however much has been accomplished in the past two years. This will become more apparent in the next few months. There are many to thank for their generous donation of resources, time, and services. Should any resident of the Borough be so inclined we can always use additional assistance.

Please stop by The Glen Park Restoration Association's table at the Arts Festival this Saturday and learn more about the plan's for The Glen Park.

I hope to see many of you at the gazebo for the ribbon cutting, to enjoy a free ice cream.

Posted by: Tim Delorm | May 6, 2005 9:03:37 AM

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