Borough Briefs: Council meeting of Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Don’t just slow down, come to a complete stop for a moment. Then go.

That may be the new law for motorists on Cleveland Avenue as they drive across North Second Avenue. The Highland Park Borough Council is looking at adding two new stop signs to the signs already facing motorists on North Second Avenue. An ordinance was introduced at the council’s Aug. 11, 2015, meeting, where it received the unqualified support of the entire council.

If the ordinance passes, this would be the first four-way stop in Highland Park, said Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler.


A solar panel array may be coming to the Upper Meadows as a result of ongoing discussion between Highland Park and Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G).

The Upper Meadows is a plot of municipally owned and undeveloped land past the eastern terminus of Donaldson Street. It includes land between the two unconnected portions of Graham Street and lies between Buck Woods and the Southside Bikeway. PSE&G is amid an effort to generate more of its electricity from renewable sources, particularly solar.

“When (we) told them how man square feet we have in the Upper Meadows potentially for a solar field, they got so excited,” said Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler

There is as yet no formal proposal under consideration. As outlined at the council’s meeting Tuesday evening, the borough would continue to own the land but PSE&G would own the solar panels and would pay Highland Park rent for use of the space.

Electricity generated by the solar field could provide the Highland Park Borough’s Department of Public Works with emergency backup power during power outages. The mayor predicted there would be not only to provide heat for the DPW and the Borough’s Office of Emergency Management, but also to keep the gas pumps running for municipal vehicles.

Similar projects are under discussion in Princeton and Hopewell. Princeton hopes to own its solar array, while Hopewell is looking primarily at placing a solar array on its buildings, an arrangement Highland Park also has considered.


Work continues on the reconstruction of Valentine Street, which runs from Cedar Lane in the west to just past South Fifth Avenue in the east. It is the only major Highland Park road project this year, thanks to a $300,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation.


The Highland Park Board of Education may soon have a representative on the Highland Park Board of Health.

Per the borough’s web site, the board of health works in close cooperation with the Middlesex County Public Health Department, which provides a health inspector to enforce municipal sanitary codes. The inspector inspects food establishments, investigates retail food complaints, overgrown vegetation, insect and rodent control problems, illegal dumping and communicable diseases, according to the web site.

The board of health works under the auspices of the Highland Park Borough Council, which on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, gave preliminary approval to school board representation to the school board. Final and formal approval is expected to come when the council next meets on September 1 at 7 p.m.

The school board representative would act as a liaison, be appointed at the discretion of the mayor, and would serve a one-year term.

“The Highland Park Board of Health also sponsors an annual health fair, blood pressure clinics, flu vaccination clinics and educational programs covering health topics of interest to the public,” the web site states.


The Borough Council is considering adding a liaison from the Police Department to the Human Relations Commission.

Under an ordinance introduced on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, the mayor would appoint a police officer to the commission for one-year terms. The commission’s charter calls for it to foster goodwill among the different communities in the borough, and at times may make recommendations to the borough council to develop better procedures and policies in keeping with that mission.

The commission meets the third Wednesday of each month.


Municipal officials still are looking for a place where Highland Park teens can hang out in the afternoons after school lets out.

It appeared earlier this year that the Trinity United Methodist Church may have been a solution. The Montgomery Street church is situated near Highland Park High School and Highland Park Middle School. That option failed to work out, said Borough Administrator Kathleen Kovach.

Borough officials have considered buying a foreclosed property on South Sixth Avenue and Benner Street, not far from Borough Hall. The structure would not be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buying the property would cost $199,000; knocking it down and replacing it with a prefabricated structure would cost an additional $80,000, Ms. Kovach said.

It was unclear if the borough would go this route.

The proposed teen center would be for youth between 13 and 18 years old, and would target teens who do not attend afterschool activities held at the high school, either because of interest or because they do not attend the school. There are no afterschool programs for teenagers at Highland Park Library.

“We want it to be for all kids in the town, not just the Highland Park High School kids,” said Ms. Kovach.

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