Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cameras Installed at Historic Train Station

Three surveillance cameras on the corner of a ...Image via WikipediaAugust 8th, Flood Control Advisory Commission Chair Ryan Herd along with assistance from W.J. Wanczyk, Historic District Commission Chair, as well as others installed a security camera system at the Pompton Plains Railroad Station which is now a local history museum.  The project, spearheaded by Lou Hebert, was originally budgeted at $250, but ended up costing far less.

Ryan Herd completed the work pro bono with the assistance of his company 1 Sound Choice, located in Pompton Plains.  The system installed is worth about $3500.

This move comes as a great relief to members of the public who have watched the station suffer increasingly from vandalism over the past year since its restoration.  Damage has ranged from attempted theft of the copper downspouts to the destruction of full all of the historically accurate glass lampshades and an abundance of rotting food and drinks poured over the walls and station platform.

Nearly all of the vandalism has been performed by children who purchase food at the Quick Check across the street then sit on the station platform eating it.  In addition to eating, the children also bicycle, skateboard, and in at least one case climb the side of the building.  Despite numerous complaints, no arrests have been made since the station's opening and only one teen has come forward, at a parent's urging, to pay for damage they caused.

It is hoped that the cameras will provide a deterrent to vandals and the evidence necessary to arrest and prosecute those few who remain undeterred.  Critics have raised the concern that the cameras will now become a expensive target of the same vandals, but after a year of damage there seems little other choice.  Previous efforts to prevent damage have included registering the facility as a historic park, a move which enables police to charge individuals found there with loitering and with smoking in a public park when applicable.

Residents can help by keeping an eye on the station whenever you pass by and by educating children in the community of the historic importance of the facility.  It is important that this museum remain a resource for generations of future schoolchildren to learn about local history rather than a drain on taxes and an eyesore.


Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock EnvironmentalHistoric District, and Flood Control Advisory Commissions as well as the author of  "Torrent," a book about flooding in the region.  Lotito's personal mission is to reduce new taxes, drastically reduce flooding, and preserve more green spaces for our children.  Christopher Lotito Profile

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