Allendale June 24, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • Page 9 Community attends Orchard Commons park dedication by John Koster The Allendale Council and borough residents turned out to dedicate Orchard Commons, a three-acre passive park literally saved from the bulldozer by the initiative of Councilman Jim Strauch and the administrative energy of Mayor Vince Barra and several other council members. When development seemed imminent, Strauch started a campaign to have individual families donate a suggested amount of $1,000 each to save the land from development into 24 condominiums in eight buildings. Strauch also interested Ella Fillipone of the Passaic River Valley Coalition, and the group came up with some seed money and political support for the project. Mayor Barra and Council Members Elizabeth White and Robert Schoepflin then organized a campaign to acquire state Green Acres and Bergen County Open Space Pictured at the Orchard Commons dedication (above) are Allendale Mayor Vince Barra and Council Members Robert Schoepflin, Elizabeth White, and Jim Strauch. The donated entrance to the park is visible to the left of Mayor Barra. At left: Ella Fillipone of the Passaic River Valley Coalition, a supporter of the park construction project. funding to purchase the land – with the cooperation of landowner Ramon Alvarez – and a lenient price and payment schedule. Alvarez also donated the stone gate that marks the entrance of the park. The June 14 ceremony, slipped in between spates of rainfall, displayed the newly planted park and its walks and gardens to the public for the first official look – though progress on the Franklin Turnpike site has been readily visible. A quadrant of the Orchard Commons site located near the A&P shopping mall has also been earmarked for construction of local affordable housing suitable for seniors and the disabled with the approval and sizable financial support of the Council on Affordable Housing. The money given to Allendale for the land helped clinch Mayor Barra’s pledge to take on the project without direct taxpayer contributions. ���������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������������������� ���������� ������������������������� ����������������������������� ��������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������������� ������������ ������������������������� ���������� ����������������������