Timeline of Activity
Summer 2010– Gina Genovese, executive director of Courage to Connect New Jersey, spoke at the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield N.J., Inc. the need to greatly reduce the number of municipalities in New Jersey to help eliminate the redundancy of government. Fred Lange, a long-time Scotch Plains resident was in attendance, and began focusing on potential cost savings if Fanwood and Scotch Plains were merged.
October 19, 2010 – With an invite from Mr. Lange, Ms. Genovese made a presentation at the Scotch Plains Recreational Building, where at least 75 people attended, to discuss the benefits of reconnecting the two municipalities. A few individuals volunteered to begin the state-mandated merger process for Scotch Plains and Fanwood, including Don Parisi, a former member of the Board of Education. Mr. Lange then formed a local group, called “Courage to Re-Connect.”
December 8, 2010 – Mr. Lange held the group’s first organizational meeting at his home with interested residents and potential Municipal Consolidation Commissioners, and outlined next steps.
March 2, 2011 – Don Parisi arranged to have a public meeting at the Brunner Elementary School, which was well-attended. Ms. Genovese made her second presentation to the community.
May 18, 2011 – Representing Courage to Re-Connect, Mr. Lange met with Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr and Eleanor McGovern, who serves as the municipal administrator and clerk. Mr. Lange outlined the steps to merge the two communities. Mayor Mahr said she believed in shared services between the two municipalities, but not a merger.
June 10, 2011 – Representing Courage to Re-Connect, Mr. Lange met with Scotch Plains Mayor Nancy Malool to explain the procedures to merge Scotch Plains and Fanwood. Mayor Malool – who has since resigned her post to work for the state Department of Community Affairs – said she would support the efforts.
June 12, 2011 – Courage to Re-Connect hosted a booth at the spring street fair in Fanwood. Organization members and other volunteers spoke with residents from both communities and asked if they would sign a petition for a municipal consolidation study for Scotch Plains and Fanwood. The response was overwhelmingly positive.
September 8, 2011 – Members of Courage to Re-Connect made a presentation at a regularly-scheduled meeting of the Lions Club at the Jade Isle restaurant. Mr. Lange detailed the organization’s objectives to the civic group and passed around the petition for signature.
October 2, 2011 – Courage to Re-Connect hosted a booth at the fall street fair in Fanwood. Organization members and other volunteers spoke with residents from both communities and asked if they would sign a petition for a municipal consolidation study for Scotch Plains and Fanwood. The response, again, was overwhelmingly positive.
October 13, 2011 – Courage to Re-Connect held an organizational meeting to discuss next steps in the petition process and to prepare petitions for submission. The meeting was well-attended, following strong outreach at the street fairs.
November 9, 2011 – Courage to Re-Connect submitted petition packets to the respective clerks in Fanwood and Scotch Plains.
December 22, 2012-The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education selected Don Parisi and Amy Winkler to serve as municipal consolidation commissioners representing Fanwood and Scotch Plains.
January 25, 2012 – Members of Courage to Re-Connect met with leaders of the state Department of Community Affairs’ Local Finance Board in Trenton – Thomas Neff and John Rasimowicz. The organization was represented by residents in Scotch Plains and Fanwood, as well as Ms. Genovese and legal counsel for Courage to Connect New Jersey.
February 16, 2012 – Courage to Re-Connect submitted a preliminary application with the Local Finance Board for a state-mandated study to merge Fanwood and Scotch Plains.
May 21, 2012 – Members of Courage to Re-Connect representing both towns met at the Scotch Plains Library with officials from the state Department of Community Affairs to answer questions and outline state-mandated responsibilities for public hearings scheduled in June. The DCA appointed Eugene McCarthy to serve as the state liaison for the municipal consolidation study process.
June 18, 2012 – Public hearing is scheduled at the Scotch Plains municipal building at 7:30 p.m. to discuss the municipal consolidation study process.
July 10, 2012– The Fanwood Hearing is at 7:00 PM at the Forest Park Community Center, 200 Forest Road, Fanwood NJ
August 8, 2012- Local Finance Board meeting and hearing on the Scotch Plains/Fanwood Consolidation Study Commission application in Trenton