This website is dedicated to the Michelin Plant on Ford Avenue, the Evans Family, Dr Forney and his sons, who they have given so much to the town of Milltown and for playing an important role in forming the town we love and respect. Also dedication goes to the remaining historical sites that are remaining that we hold dear to our heart, also to the ones that we have lost to the senseless disregard of our town history and to what makes this town so special, the residents that live and work here. We need to stop the senseless destruction of our historical landmarks and Milltown's history now before its to late and is lost forever.
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February 12 2009
Governing body could have done more to save Forney House
In response to Mayor Bradford's letter to the editor, "Elected Officials Do Not Have 'Clout' to Supersede the Law" (Sentinel, Feb. 5), I agree that elected officials should act lawfully. However, it is not the case that the mayor and Borough Council were unable to intercede to save the Forney House and Clinic.
It should be obvious that the voices of elected representatives carry more weight than the citizens they represent. A large number of Milltown citizens expressed, through various means, their wish that the Forney House be saved. If the governing body had exercised more leadership and vision, they could have succeeded in this goal.
For instance, in recent years, when lapse of upkeep of the Forney House became more obvious, the mayor or other municipal officials could have taken action to enforce Milltown's zoning code, thus halting neglect of the property.
T he governing body could have also advocated for fairness in the various events that took place. One example regards the Zoning Board proceedings. But there are others.
In a teleconference hosted by the Federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Councilman Eric Steeber unexpectedly appeared and supported the bank at a time when the borough could have insisted on more rigorous consideration of alternative sites for the bank.
At a later meeting by the OCC in July, borough officials had the opportunity to intercede on behalf of residents' concerns that lawsuits by Valley National Bank and the property owner against citizen advocates threatened free public comment in the meeting; however, they chose not to.
The governing body could have asked the bank to accept the gracious offer by "This Old House" to feature the Forney House in its magazine in order to find anyone able to move the structure.
Facts did not support Mayor Bradford's assertion made on NJN News that the Forney House had to come down. The State Historic Preservation Office had inspected the house and found it sound, as stated in its Oct. 1, 2007, letter.
Even on the day of the Forney House's destruction, the mayor and borough officials remarkably had the time to watch, while workers moved hastily with their demolition plans on a site that was incompletely fenced and inadequately protected residents and the environment from the billows of dust and debris emanating from the site.
There were clearly many opportunities for the governing body to act in a manner consistent with a commitment to preserve Milltown's quality of life and history. The outcome we see demonstrates a different perspective, based more upon the vision that Valley National Bank has chosen to impose upon us.