July 20 Letters to the Editor
Friday, July 20, 2007
To The Chronicle:
Cranford has serious problems with flooding -- no one can dispute this. But who has addressed the problem, and how?
Union County has contributed more than $800,000 to Cranford's most recent flood control project. Some funding came from the state. What has the federal government done? Congressman Ferguson has toured the flood zone a few times. But he has not come through with any federal money. Yet for some reason, there are people in Cranford who say that Union County's government is not doing its fair share.
This is particularly disturbing to me when I recall the Union County response to last spring's floods. Union County first-responders were on the scene -- working with Cranford police, fire and emergency personnel to rescue people whose homes were flooded. And it was Union County public works employees who picked up the debris for weeks after the flood.
After the waters receded, the Cranford River Maintenance Committee worked on cleaning up the river area. I've worked with the River Committee for more than 10 years. This time, there was more to clean up than usual. But we put on our waders and went into the river and collected the trash.
Cranford and Union County have been working together in the face of flood disasters for a long time. We can continue to work together on what to do about flooding. Back in 1999, after Hurricane Floyd did its damage, Union County provided the same assistance as this year. On top of that, the county distributed $74,000 in interest-free loans to residents whose homes had been flooded.
Let's also look at some of the long-term issues. Through Union County's Open Space, Recreation, and Historic Preservation initiative, we have preserved more than 300 acres of green space in the last seven years. That's 300 acres saved from development and kept green for all of Union County's residents to enjoy. Cranford's Planning Board is currently considering a development near the wetlands of the Conservation Center on Birchwood Avenue. Now would be a good time for Cranford leadership to think about the connection between over-development and flooding.
BETTE JANE KOWALSKI