West Orange Stories to Watch in 2014

Here are a few stories to keep in mind this year in the township.

Prism to Finally Start Construction on the Edison Battery Building

In 2013, Mayor Robert Parisi announced that Prism Capital Partners, the redeveloper for the Downtown Edison Redevelopment Project, would finally begin construction on the Edison Battery Building in January 2014. Prism is set to build 610 residential housing units, new retail construction and a 640 space parking facility, according to Prism's website.


Hiring of New Superintendent

The West Orange Board of Education will be working with search consultants from the New Jersey School Board Association and current interim superintendent Jim O’Neill to find the right fit for a new superintendent for the school district. O’Neill’s contract as interim superintendent ends in August 2014.


New Businesses are coming to town

Keep an eye for new businesses coming to town. Construction plans for a CVS Pharmacy to be built at the site of where PALS Cabin used to be were approved in 2013, Retro Fitness will be arriving by the end of January at 235 Prospect Ave. and plans were approved in July 2013 by the planning board for the township to welcome a Chipotle restaurant at a former Wendy's location.

Have any other important topics in mind for the new year? Leave them in the comments below


Adam Kraemer January 02, 2014 at 06:28 AM
The development is a big mistake for the town
Tom January 02, 2014 at 08:05 PM
I guess I will believe it when I see it...
john anthony prignano January 02, 2014 at 10:22 PM
It's JANUARY, so let's get started !! Carpe Diem!
Vicki Russo January 03, 2014 at 02:12 PM
About time this company starts construction. I will be very happy to get this eyesore fixed and housing is needed that is affordable in West Orange. Bring on the backhoes and start digging a new foundation for 2014.
Vicki Russo January 03, 2014 at 02:14 PM
Also am very excited for our school district to hire a New Superintendent that will be here for a few years so our teachers, staff and student body can have some stability. This district has been a mess with all the personnel problems. Let's get this Hire right this time.
Tom G. January 04, 2014 at 12:24 PM
Vicki - the Edison project is for "luxury" apartments, not affordable housing. Besides, the way property values have plummeted in this town over the last 5 years, the last thing we need in this town is affordable housing, all the problems that come along with it.
Tom January 04, 2014 at 06:25 PM
I have to agree There is Plenty of inventory of affordable houses from $100,000 to $300,000 and beyond in West Orange ...Now I can only hope that the mayor/Council will move to require the police to live in West Orange if they work here... Their argument in the past has been affordability as one of the reasons...
Vicki Russo January 05, 2014 at 06:30 AM
Tom, Do u believe $100K housing is affordable for young families starting out or single parents with children? You need to realize the state of other people's economic situation. $100K condos or homes are not considered affordable housing in any town in NJ.
Tom January 05, 2014 at 09:36 AM
Yes I do... What amount would you consider affordable?
john anthony prignano January 05, 2014 at 01:58 PM
You're both right. That complex would have a waiting list if just a fraction of the cops, firemen, teachers and bureaucrats who work or worked for West Orange moved to West Orange. Vicki, you are right, we do need to realize the state of other people's economic situation....from the nadir to the apex. A young single teacher in West Orange has an average base pay of approximately $85,000, and there are hundreds of stipends readily available, and summer employment, and, of course, moonlighting - taking jobs from the parents of their students. A 40 year old single teacher can easily make $130,000 and more in the same manner. A single police sergeant can make $150,000 or more with salary, longevity pay, overtime, and, of course moonlighting. RETIRED teachers and cops and firemen are often compensated at 90k ,100k and more, + COLAS, retirement payouts, lifetime benefits and of course, what they earn at their second careers. 75% of the "new wealth" created in the last decade went to the top 20% of earners. And, all too often, it wasn't "new wealth" per se, just a transfer of the same dollars from one group to another. Vicki, do you see a cause and effect between the lower echelon and the higher echelon? Why do so many people believe in these people, when they clearly don't believe in themselves?
Tom G. January 05, 2014 at 02:09 PM
As a reminder, none of the apartments being built at Edison will actually be for sale. They are trying to attract young, upscale professionals to to rent these "luxury" apartments and help revitalize the downtown corridor. While it may be nice to think we should offer cheap housing in town, that is not the demographic that is going to help kick start a revitalization process.
john anthony prignano January 05, 2014 at 06:23 PM
Does West Orange Township allow new bake shops to open, or has the Township granted Supreme Bakery a {albeit an informal} territorial monopoly? For all intents and purposes, Do the multi - layered, innumerable, amorphous, ineffable government requirements CURRENTLY in place effectively eliminate any and all competition, but Supreme Bakery is always grandfathered in? 45,000 people!!
Vicki Russo January 06, 2014 at 09:40 AM
John Anthony, It would be great if all the high salaried employees in West Orange lived in West Orange but this town is not a popular town in NJ due to the high real estate taxes. The school district is a plus though, despite what some of the posts on this website state. I like this town due to the proximately to NYC/PHL & CT. I also like the access to mass transit in West Orange. I understand this town is close-knit to their long time businesses but isn't that called loyalty. If Supreme Bakery is a good business and offers many donations & contributions to our local sports team and Boys & Girls Club and other groups in town, I think the town does owe them some loyalty. I have also been told the Supreme Bakery is one of the top bakery's in Essex County and draws lots of customers from other towns to West Orange along with Star Pizza Tavern. I have met people from Morristown that come over to Essex county to have their pizza. I think this is good business for the town to show loyalty to long-time businesses that stay and support our activities. I also read that the medium income for our town is $82K per yr. I was a little surprised it was so high. I always heard Livingston had a higher incomer earner living there than West Orange. On the other hand WO has built some pretty fancy condos & houses off Rt. 10 so maybe our residents make more money than I thot. I also know there is a part of West Orange where residents are trying to survive on $50K per yr. so this is a challenge in our town. I like the town due to the diversity. I thot the point of the re-development in downtown was to provide some low-income housing along with luxury apts. NYC is doing that. Why can't WO? We need to attract as many tax-paying citizens as possible so the town can earn the money it needs to provide the services we all like. Just my opinion.
john anthony prignano January 06, 2014 at 12:07 PM
Vicki Thanks for your response. I believe that West Orange is not demonstrating "loyalty" to certain businesses{like Supreme Bakery }. I think your choice of the word loyalty to describe the Township's relationship with Supreme Bakery is disingenuous. I believe the Town has made it virtually impossible for any potential competition to even make an attempt. Vicki, my wife and I were in business for 10 years. We experienced it more than once, and we witnessed it several times. If you believe protectionism is o k because Supreme Bakery is a good neighbor, then you think "pay to play " is a good thing. Giving back a fraction of your gains which are obtained via a contrived monopoly is a kickback for services rendered. Vicki, read the revues of Supreme Bakery. Many people love it, some people like it, and many people strongly dislike it. Do you believe in free enterprise or not? Do you regard the criticism of a private -sector monopoly as analogous to calling for School Choice and vouchers? " We never run as fast as when we're being chased." Donating to the Mountain Top League doesn't justify stopping people from trying to make a living. Vicki, do you agree?
john anthony prignano January 06, 2014 at 12:14 PM
Vicki You said it"High taxes" That's why so many of the people making their very good livings in West Orange won't reside here! Where's their loyalty? Obviously, they think their course of action is a wiser one than THE PEOPLE WHO PAY THEM ENOUGH TO LIVE SOMEWHERE ELSE. i.e. they regard us as crazy people , and suckers. And Vicki, I've heard those comments many times.
john anthony prignano January 06, 2014 at 12:27 PM
Vicki Thanks for addressing me as John Anthony. I'm waxing nostalgic.... memories.
Vicki Russo January 06, 2014 at 12:29 PM
I do not believe in Pay to Play even though I have Italian heritage. I also have run small businesses with my family and I believe in Free enterprise and a fair shot to bid for new business in any location available. I do believe small businesses should support initiatives in cities in which they do business as you say, a Good Neighbor. I also believe America needs a public school system. This idea of charter schools receiving taxpayer money and families can use vouchers to go to any school in their area will not be a good long term solution for the educational system in America. Charter schools are basically for-profit businesses. If a family chooses to pay for a private school this is their choice but should not be subsidized with taxpayer money. Public schools are in so much need of various issues like building maintenance, IPAD for every child and equipment for schools. Those items should be the national initiative with our taxpayer money. Charter schools can be created with private money or private loans. Families have the right to send their child to any school available to them. PS I do not consider myself a Sucker because I made a decision to live in West Orange and pay the cost to do so. I do stay involved to make sure the decision makers in this town do not abuse their authority and do right for the taxpayers. I hope I answered all your questions.
john anthony prignano January 06, 2014 at 01:36 PM
Vicki You sure did. We are underfunding our public schools, right? Do you think if we paid teachers more, they might stop taking the jobs of their students' parents - THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE TO PAY THEM? To paraphrase Dickens; "The New Jersey Supreme court is a ass, a idiot!" Once the students in Newark and Camden and Paterson and Irvington et al get IPADS and new facilities and equipment, they will all be successful, in school as well as in life. Funny thing is, many urban districts have purchased that stuff and more, and it's worse than ever. Maybe more money is needed. Computer companies and IPAD companies and text book companies, in fact, every company makes a profit on what they provide to the public schools. But the companies running the schools ? Heaven forbid! Let's pay Donna Rando, who was hired right off the street, $200,000 for yearly declines. NO ONE could do her job better and/or for less money. And Vicki, how about a Charter School that makes a profit for its shareholders, improves results, and reduces costs? They exist now. The West Orange schools have 20% more employees than Montclair, they spend $4,000 more per student, and Montclair's test scores are generally better than West Orange's. and what's not to say Montclair isn't overhired, and there are always ways to improve anything. I don't consider the residents of West Orange suckers either. Many of the people we employ and pay so generously do, however. And the decision makers in town CONSTANTLY abuse their authority . Not letting the voters decide on extending their own term of office is one more giant step on "The Road to Serfdom. " John Milton, Paradise Lost " Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven" Vicki, thanks for your responses. We strongly disagree, but I genuinely respect your point of view. " I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
Tom January 06, 2014 at 08:21 PM
Vicky so I guess if people want to make choices of their schools they have to uproot their family and move... That is disgusting. This is the reason many towns are in decline,specifically West Orange... I know many people that will not consider West Orange because of the school system. People pay for public education (IT IS NOT FREE) through the real estate taxes and rent... they should have the option to utilize vouchers to any school public or private...
john anthony prignano January 06, 2014 at 10:54 PM
Two schools in Paterson got $2,000,000 each, and there's a lot more money on the way. The school has 8 coaches who come in several days a week from Seton Hall University to advise teachers who are in the trenches. New hires included; A data manager, data leaders, intervention specialists, a response to intervention teacher, math leaders, literacy leaders, a climate and culture leader, and the district created 4 new positions at $157,000 per.; Principal evaluation and mentoring specialists. Dr. Cavanna is one of the 4. Teachers get paid more for a longer school day, but they complain that their increased bureaucratic responsibilities take away instructional time, and they complain that the children have difficulty concentrating during the extended hours. Anyway, 26 test scores went up, and 31 test scores went down. In 2010 - 2011, 4% of Paterson students who took the SAT were considered college ready. In Camden it was 3%. Mark Zuckerberg gave the Newark Public Schools $100,000,000. $50,000,000 went to teacher salary increases, and Cory Booker squandered a lot of the rest of the money on political consultants, focus groups, and mailing and polling. The Passaic County Education President argues that " With schools with high concentrations of very poor students, poverty has to be alleviated before achievement can improve" The EDUCRATS, NOT the school choice - voucher crowd,are stating that all the money in the world being spent in and on the public schools CAN'T work, UNTIL and IF impoverished people attain AT LEAST middle class status. And I always thought a good education is the path to financial success, not the other way around. The biggest lie ever told to the American people is "Democrats are for the poor people. " Anyone who doesn't think the inmates are in total control of the asylums, has, in two regards, lost their faculties. The public schools do not exist to educate children.
john anthony prignano January 06, 2014 at 11:51 PM
Revelations: "If you want a quality public school education, STOP BEING POOR!"


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