|Revelers in Pequannock's Village section celebrating|
a slow return to normalcy.
Saturday June 9th, many citizens of Pequannock's Village shook hands and shared meals together for the first time in nearly a year. Since the devastation caused by Hurricane Irene and the resultant flooding in September of 2011, citizens throughout the Passaic River Valley have been displaced from homes, praying for loans to get construction completed, dealing with delay after delay, permit after permit, and struggling each day just to get back to normal.
What we take for granted each day: waking up in our own beds, having hot water, heat, and a working stove, even living in a home that does not reek of damp and mildew, the citizens of Pequannock and so many other towns have lived without since the Irene Disaster.
Whereas events like last Autumn's flood dinners, the Halloween Parade, Toys for Tots, and the River Cleanup displayed a sort of desperate hope, Saturday's block party showed a peace of mind in many residents for the first time in months.
Throughout the day, residents gathered on lawns and in the streets, listening to live music, greeting neighbors, and barbecuing in a celebration of life and community. It was a truly heartening display of community spirit, not only in Pequannock's Village area, but with visits from the Mayor and Council as well as numerous well-wishers from all over town.
The new week saw a return to business as usual and the ongoing flooding issue, raised anew by the New Jersey League of Municipalities' opposition to bills which would require reservoirs to provide flood mitigation assistance. In a developing story, Mayor Richard Phelan of Pequannock has issued a letter critiquing this position and calling for a reconsideration on the part of the League.
The Pequannock Township Council will meet at 7:30pm tonight, Tuesday June 12th and will no doubt discuss the NJ League of Municipalities matter as will the Pequannock Township Flood Control Advisory Committee on Thursday June 14th at their 7:30pm meeting.
Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock Historic District, Open Space, 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