Chester Borough Names Property at 50 North Road

The Chester Borough Council Has unanimously voted to name the Open Space property at 50 North Road, the Seward Hill Preserve. The Preserve, purchased by the Borough in 2009 from Alcatel-Lucent, consists of 64 acres, which are restricted to passive recreation. There are an additional 22 acres on the parcel which are owned by the municipality and the buildings house the municipal offices and department of public works in addition to the Chester Board of Education.

The prominent feature of the property is Seward Hill.  The Seward Family dates back to the 1700s in Chester.  According to Chester, New Jersey A Scrapbook of History by Frances Greenidge (1974), Obiadiah Seward was a “Black River Patriot” in the Revolutionary War. The Seward Farm was passed down in the Seward family until it was sold to the pastor of the Chester Congregational Church, sometime around 1801.  A portion of an old “Seward” house can still be seen on Seward Place in Chester Borough.  The original Seward Farm was known as the “Welcome Home Farm.”

In 1928, Bell Telephone Laboratories purchased what by then was referred to as Seward’s Hill, as an outdoor testing site.  According to Mrs. Greenidge, the spot was chosen “for its altitude of over a thousand feet, and for its ‘particularly good wind exposure on open wires.’’’ In 1929, the original “telephone pole forest” was installed.

At some point, John and Willard Apgar, decedents of early settlers of Chester, decided to erect a Christmas Star on the Hill, which remains a tradition to this day.  Mrs. Greenidge also mentioned that the Bell Lab employees enjoyed working on the property and one of them brought in a high powered telescope and placed it on the Hill.  It is said that on a clear day, the men could count 33 stories of the Empire State Building.

Today, the Seward Hill Preserve is home to a trails system which winds its way through Chester Township and Borough.  Native plantings dot the landscape and wildlife freely roam its environs.

Prescription Drug Disposal Event Sat. April 28

On April 28th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Chester Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 15th opportunity in seven years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your pills for disposal to Chester Police Department at 1 Parker Road, Chester, NJ 07930. The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches. If you can not make the event we have a MedReturn Collection box in the police headquarters lobby that can be utilized by Chester residents.

Tennis postponed a week

Chester Borough Recreation announces that this week’s tennis program is going to be postponed a week due to court conditions. Any questions should be directed to the Recreation Director at recreation@chesterborough.org

JCP&L Helicopter Inspections

From JCP&L: “Please be advised that on approximately April 14th weather permitting, Chesapeake Bay Helicopters will be performing a comprehensive visual inspection (CVI) patrol on the T5020 (Smithburg-Deans) 500kV line and will be performing Routine Patrols on all 230kV and 115kV transmission lines. CBH will be patrolling JCP&L territory full-time until the inspections are completed – inspections will take approximately two weeks for completion.
A Comprehensive Visual Inspection (CVI) is a slow, structure by structure, span by span inspection in which the crew is getting a detailed look at the structure, conductor, and all associated hardware. The helicopter will be seen moving very slowly along the lines and at times may be seen hovering during the inspection getting a closer look at the transmission line, structure(s), and hardware.
A routine patrol/inspection is a general, overall look at the transmission line and associated hardware. The helicopter will be traveling at speeds of 25-30mph and may at times hover over top of structures and/or spans of conductor to get a better look at any problems/issues found during patrols.
It should be noted that the contractor has been authorized to patrol the transmission circuits in their entirety (i.e. “breaker-to-breaker”), so patrols on certain lines may therefore extend into the neighboring regions. The flight crew provides information on their daily location to both Transmission Lines Maintenance and the FCC, and the pilot will be in communication with any local airports when in their airspace. Please advise local Safety Forces and other public entities or sensitive customers as needed.”

Well Water Testing Available to Chester Area Residents

This spring, Chester Township and Chester Borough will team up with Raritan Headwaters to offer well testing at an affordable cost. Residents can purchase water sample collection kits on Saturday, April 7th from 9:00 a.m. to noon at The Barn at Highlands Ridge Park at 100 North Road. Water samples must then be dropped off on Monday, April 9th from 6:30-10:00 a.m. at The Barn. Test results will be available two weeks later.

Unlike public drinking water systems, private wells are not required by law to be regularly checked for contamination before the water is sent to the tap.

Raritan Headwaters is a nonprofit watershed conservation organization working to protect and preserve the public’s access to safe, clean water that is swimmable, fishable and most importantly, drinkable. Eighty percent of the residents of this region – about 320,000 people – obtain their drinking water through wells.

Well water pollutants found in the region include coliform bacteria, nitrate, arsenic, iron, radon and volatile organic compounds. Sources of contamination include failing septic systems, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and naturally-occurring contaminants like arsenic. Water may also become contaminated with lead and copper as it travels through older pipes in the home.

Raritan Headwaters offers a “basic kit” for coliform bacteria and nitrate for $60. Residents may also test for other potential contaminants at an additional cost.

Staff members at RHA are available to advise citizens who are uncertain about which tests to order and to review individual results after testing is complete. More information on the tests we offer can be found at www.testmywell.org. Testing is performed by a private state certified laboratory and results are confidential.

The Community Well Testing program was established in 1974, allowing RHA to monitor the health of our region’s groundwater supply for over four decades. Raritan Headwaters recently completed a 30-year trend analysis of well water tests result in the region, which showed an increase in arsenic levels in several towns as well as slight increases in coliform bacteria and nitrate concentrations.

“Your private well is an important investment that is best protected by regular check-ups to ensure a reliable and safe source of drinking water for you and your family,” said Mara Tippett, well test manager for RHA.

Residents who aren’t able to take advantage of the Chester’s Community Well Test event can contact Tippett to arrange to pick up a test kit at RHA’s Bedminster or Flemington office. She can be contacted at 908-234-1852, ext. 401 or welltesting@raritanheadwaters.org.

For more information about Raritan Headwaters and its programs and preserves, go to www.raritanheadwaters.org.

Free Dogwood Trees available 4/14

The Chester Township Environmental and Open Space Commission and The Chester Borough Shade Tree Commission are giving away Free Dogwood Trees!

Pick up a lovely flowering dogwood seedling on April 14, 2018 from 9:30 am until Noon at the Gazebo on Main Street.

Honor Earth Day and Arbor Day by Planting a Tree

Also, there will be information on Emerald Ash Borer, an insect attacking our Ash trees!

Don’t know if you have Ash trees?  Come and see our display to help you identify Ash trees.

BPU Schedules Hearings on Storm Response

The New Jersey State Board of Public Utilities has scheduled the first two of five public hearings as part of BPU staff’s investigation into the response of the state’s four electric companies to the most recent storms.

The first hearing will be held on Thursday, April 5 from 4-7 p.m. at the Byram Intermediate School located at12 Mansfield Drive, in Byram Township, Sussex County. The second hearing will take place on Thursday April 12 from 4-7 p.m. at Parsippany Town Hall 1001 Parsippany Blvd., Parsippany, Morris County.

We do not yet know the dates and locations of additional meetings.

Click here to read the press release.

A Letter from Mayor Janet Hoven

Mayor Hoven addresses the community on issues such as the recent storms, brush collection, solid waste collection, budget, spring and summer happenings, and openings on commissions. Please take a few minutes to read about the storm recovery and other topics. Click here to access the newsletter. (Must open up this post to access link.)

Storm Recovery Update – March 10

From JCP&L:

Crews have been dispatched to Pleasant Hill / Hillside and are at Mile Drive. A crew has been dispatched to fix a broken crossarm that is affecting power around Rt. 24 in Chester headed towards Long Valley.

From Police Chief Williver:

Looks like a lot of progress was made last night with restoration.  Power crews were working all night on Ironia Road near number 8.  Power crews are expected back on Hillside Road this morning to complete repairs.  I asked JCP&L for some lead time if they have to shut down the circuit for Hillside Road so that we can warn our communities of another temporary outage.  I also asked him to send a crew to Spring Lake Drive at Rt. 206 to open the roadway (this damage is from Winter Storm Quinn). Phone and cable lines are across the road at Spring Lake/206 (not live wires).

The overnight patrols also went throughout town and updated our “Century Link List” for trees and communications cables which still may be down or have trees laying on them.  This list has been forwarded to our contact at Century Link.  They have advised that they will come out and address the issues.