For the past week, Patch has been looking back at some of the biggest and best in Mahwah of 2013. In honor of New Year’s Day, Patch will look ahead to some of the stories we think locals should follow that will become or continue to be big news in 2014.
High School Complex
One of the hottest topics discussed in the township in 2013 will likely carry over to be big news in 2014.
In July, the Mahwah Board of Education proposed an indoor multi-purpose facility to be built on the high school’s campus that would be used primarily as extra practice space for sports, marching band, and color guard, as well as for physical education class space and a new concession stand and bathrooms for the football field. District officials have said that the project came from a need in the athletics department, and that the project would likely become a part of the bigger community, being used not only by the district but eventually by community sports leagues and groups as well.
The board, which approved the proposal in the fall, is now waiting for more specific design plans from the architect on what exactly the project will look like. It was proposed to be a 26,000 square foot facility with an estimated cost of $3.8 million, to come from the district’s capital reserve fund.
Reaction to the complex has been mixed, and a group of parents have been voicing their opinions to the board since the project was proposed.
A New Phase for Crossroads
In December, expert testimony on a two-year long hearing on the Crossroads Town Center wrapped at the Mahwah Planning Board. The Board is expected to hold a meeting with a closing argument from the developer and soliciting resident feedback on the proposal for a 600,000 square foot shopping center on January 27 before voting on the project.
Crossroads has been one of the most controversial proposals in the township, and, if approved, will enter a new phase in which the developer will seek state approvals and begin refining its plans to submit a final site plan to the township.
2014 will likely bring another exciting political race, as four township council seats are up for election this year. Those up include recently elected return Councilman Rob Hermansen, who ran this year to fill the one-year unexpired term of Councilman John Spiech, who unexpectedly retired in June.
Three other council members’ seats will also be up for election this year.
With a heated four-way race for one seat in 2013, and all three losing candidates vowing to return for the 2014 election, the candidate pool will likely be a packed one come November.
The Christian Bale movie ‘Out of the Furnace’ released in December sparked a community-wide discussion in Mahwah about the depiction of the Ramapough Lenape Indian Tribe. Members of the tribe recently announced they are suing the makers of the film, saying they presented the Ramapoughs in a false light in the movie. Producers have commented that the movie is not based on a particular community, but township officials have argued otherwise.
The Mahwah school district’s administration has recommended moving forward on transitioning the district’s current half-day Kindergarten program into a full-day one. In December, Board of Education members verbally approved officials to continue to examine how to fit the transition into the 2014-15 school budget.
Officials have said they hope the full-day program will be in effect in September.