The 201st year of Bloomfield’s history will bring with it the revitalization of the downtown area, predicted Mayor Raymond McCarthy on Tuesday night.
During the first council meeting of the year and his State of the Township address, the mayor applauded the township’s efforts in recent years to revive Bloomfield’s downtown.
“In writing this speech,” said McCarthy, “I went back over the addresses I have given over the past few years, and find that the one thing that has been consistent in these addresses is the development of our downtown.
“The hope that we had over the past 10 years of doing a new downtown has actually begun.”
The mayor’s hopes focused on current development projects, which total more than $200 million in new construction.
The first is Glenwood Village, which was approved by the planning board last May. The development will include retail space, restaurant space and about 220 apartments. The first phase of the project is a large parking garage housing more than 460 sports which McCarthy expected to be competed by the end of February.
Another development project is the four-story building on Broad Street and Franklin Avenue proposed by Bloomfield College. The mixed-use building will include both housing for college students and a Barns & Noble bookstore.
The college’s development “will change the face of our business district,” said McCarthy. “It is an extension the heart and soul of Bloomfield College."
Due to these developments, McCarthy predicted Bloomfield would experience the “greatest amount of growth in its history. No other community in this area -- that I can think of -- has developments like we have in this township.
“We have a new future for a Bloomfield downtown.”
The Year In Review
McCarthy also highlighted the township’s accomplishments and services in 2012. These included:
- The Municipal Clerk’s office processed about 770 Open Public Record Requests in 2012.
- The Recreation Department started five new programs last year for children and parents; began a scholarship program; and organized the township’s bicentennial celebration.
- The Department of Public Works went “above and beyond” during Hurricane Sandy, said McCarthy, which he considered “the story of the century.” The Department of Public Works also successfully removed more than 100 felled trees, 25 of which were on houses, in addition to clearing Bloomfield’s streets.
- The Housing Department conducted more than 1,800 house inspections, which resulted in 1,265 violations.
- The Bloomfield Public Library had more than 240,000 people pass through its doors in 2012; more than 54,000 visited its website; and the library circulated more than 130,000 pieces of material.
- The Bloomfield Tax Assessor’s Office handled more than 600 tax appeals.
- Bloomfield's assessed value jumped from $2.5 billion to $4.5 billion after the revaluation. McCarthy said this was “certainly an indication of our growth.”
- The Bloomfield Police Department answer more than 25,000 calls last year.
- The Bloomfield Fire Department responded to about 120 structure fires in 2012, and conducted approximately 6,800 inspections.