Volunteers to light up the town

Partnership between township, chamber, HEAT will make town center more festive


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Want to help?
Volunteers are needed to help decorate in front of town hall
Saturday, Nov. 30
9:30 a.m.
1480 Union Valley Road
Got a question? Call 973-728-7721

BY LINDA SMITH HANCHARICK

— The holiday season is officially here and soon it will be obvious in the town center. In addition to the Christmas tree lighting that takes place on Monday and the menorah lighting on Wednesday, Veteran's Park will soon be aglow with white lights, utility poles on Union Valley will be decked in garland and merchants will be stepping up their own decorations.

Yes, West Milford is getting festive, thanks to a discussion and partnership between the West Milford Chamber of Commerce, the township and the Highlands Economic and Tourism Corp. (HEAT).

"HEAT took the lead as far as Veteran's Park and town hall go," said Tim Wagner, chairman of HEAT. The group is donating $1,000 for the lights.

For the second year in a row, there has been much discussion about displaying religious symbols on township property. Last year, the religious symbols were allowed. This year, they are not. Wagner has vigorously supported the religious symbols on township property. But earlier this month, he talked to the council about making the town hall property and other areas in town more festive in general as a way to help attract shoppers and to show the town's spirit.

That was something all could agree on.

While HEAT will be lighting up about 15 trees in Veteran's Park, the township received approval from the utility company to put garland on poles along Union Valley Road, between Macopin and McDonalds on Marshall Hill, and up toward Bearfort Shopping Center.

"The idea is to make it look more festive and get people to shop here in town," said Councilman Lou Signorino.

Stu Feldman, the vice president of the chamber, agrees.

"The chamber of commerce is about promoting the businesses in town," said Feldman. "We're not religious or political. We were interested in participating because it will be a seasonal display. We can certainly support that."

The chamber and Rocky Hazelman have always dressed up the triangle area at the intersection of Union Valley and Marshall Hill Roads and they will continue doing that.

Feldman, Signorino and other chamber members even went door to door last weekend talking to business owners about decorating. If they don't decorate, they were encouraged to do something. If they decorated, they were asked to step it up a little bit.

"We're all for dressing up the town and getting people in the holiday spirit," said Feldman.

Everyone can help

Individuals and groups are invited to help with the decorating on Saturday. Wagner said he has contacted scout groups to chip in with the work. The Our Lady Queen of Peace Knights of Columbus members are planning to help too. Anyone wishing to help should be at the Veteran's Park area in front of town hall beginning at 9:30 a.m. Ladders and bodies are needed, Signorino said.

"Everyone is chipping in and rolling up their sleeves."


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