RAMSEY, N.J. — Mayor Deirdre Dillon and Borough Council on Thursday issued a statement following the resignation of four pool committee members, which addresses the pool house, snack stand and senior center projects:
"As mayor and council, we understand that not everyone will agree with approaches the Borough of Ramsey may take at times. As an elected body, we work to act in the best interest of the entire community.
" In any debate, differing sides can respectfully agree or disagree, but when a decision is finally rendered, it’s time to come together and move forward.
"First let us say that we are sorry that Ms. Lessieu and some members of the Pool Commission have resigned subsequent to the Planning Board’s approval of the Borough Community/Senior Center, Pool House and Snack Stand project. We thank them for their service.
"Secondly, it is important that we decouple - difference of opinion from lack of transparency. These are separate issues. We believe that much of the emotion and confusion around the Ramsey Community/Senior Center, Pool House and Snack Stand project has come from viewing these issues as one and the same.
"The fact remains that this project has not been an outlier to any other capital expenditure process followed in our Borough – a process that is directed by the ordinances and regulations well established by the Borough and State. To that end, all meetings are scheduled and the public is given advance notice in various published media. Public attendance is encouraged and open comment is always welcome to the points discussed in these meetings. Borough meeting minutes, plans, and documents are a matter of public record.
"This project – whose inception began in 2011 – has moved along steadily but slowly. After a special June 1, 2016 Town Hall Meeting, this project was actually delayed a year to incorporate public input and concerns, including environmental considerations. As a result, construction modifications were made to the plans with all pertinent project information and drawings posted on the Borough website. This process was not done in a vacuum. It is important to note that Pool Commission Leadership opted not to be part of that process in 2014 as the record states.
"Recently, after presenting a comprehensive, fact-based plan for construction of Ramsey’s Community/Senior Center, Pool House and Snack Stand on the property known as 73 East Oak Street, Ramsey, NJ, to the Ramsey Planning Board, they approved it. In the Planning Board’s Resolution affirming the construction of this project, it is important that Ramsey residents understand the true intent and benefit of this project.
"In the Resolution, the Planning Board states:
'The Municipal Pool and Tennis Court complex is the largest recreational facility in the Borough of Ramsey, being 27 acres and is larger than the Finch Park complex that has 18.4 acres. It is the Board’s position that the municipal swimming pool and tennis court complex is underutilized, even though it is the largest property within the municipality. It is recognized that this property does have environmental constraints.
However, the Board has determined that based upon proper engineering design, the facilities that are proposed will complement the existing complex, will not over burden the property, and can be properly accommodated on the site.The Board, therefore, has determined, that the proposed Community/Senior Center and Pool House will have a positive effect on the entire community of Ramsey and will promote the objectives and goals of the Master Plan of the Borough of Ramsey. This proposal provides appropriate and necessary facilities to accommodate the needs of all the citizens of Ramsey.'