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Borough Council votes to allow building of Arboretum Educational Center

Also, the council also honored fire departments responding to two recent fires in town


Above: Glen Rock Mayor Bruce Packer, right, speaks at Wednesday’s meeting of the Mayor and Council, honoring firefighters from Glen Rock and several other towns for their efforts in responding to two recent fires in Glen Rock.

In a unanimous vote, the Glen Rock Borough Council agreed Wednesday night to approve construction of a 1,750-square foot educational center at the Thielke Arboretum.

The cost of the construction of the building, which will be ecologically and environmentally sustainable, will be paid for by the Friends of the Glen Rock Arboretum, and upon completion, the building will be donated back to the borough.

All four voting members — Mike O’Hagan, Art Pazan, Bill Leonard and Council President Amy Martin — voted in favor of the building. Council members Skip Huisking and Kristine Morieko were absent from the meeting.

In announcing his vote, O’Hagan thanked former councilwoman Joan Orseck and former mayor John van Keuren for putting the initiative to build the educational center in motion. O’Hagan also thanked opponents of the project for expressing their views.

“This is for making sure the council did this the right way and ensuring due diligence,” he said.

Martin said this was the biggest vote since she has been on the council (she was elected in 2015) and said approving the new building would honor the dream of Carol Thielke, for whom the Arboretum is named.

During the public part of the final vote, several residents voiced their support of the project. A few expressed their concerns about it, however. Some of the concerns included building on the wetlands, and going against the request of the owners who sold the land on which the Arboretum is located to keep the land undeveloped. After a few residents stated their concerns, resident Gabriel Bullaro, who opposed the project, reassured Mayor Bruce Packer that the dissenting opinions were not personal towards the Mayor and Council.  The mayor acknowledged that and agreed.

Prior to its vote on the Arboretum, the council on Wednesday took time to honor those First Responders and EMS personnel from Glen Rock and the surrounding towns of Hawthorne, Fair Lawn, Ridgewood and Midland Park who responded to two recent fires in town, the one that destroyed a home on Prospect Street and the one last week at St. Catharine Church.

The two Ridgewood firefighters who were injured at the Prospect Street fire were honored as well, as were the Glen Rock firefighters who assisted in their rescue.


What is there to say? “I think Carol would be smiling today”

“I’m proud that the Friends of the Glen Rock Arboretum has done this the right way – we’ve done our due diligence and been open and transparent along the way”.

Tom Vielbig, President of FOGRA


I want to thank FOGRA and wish them the best of luck, In addition, I want to thank the Council because I knew that they struggled with this. This has never been personal, and wished everyone the best with this decision.

Gabriel Bullaro, resident


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