The Township of Berkeley Heights has received notification of two grant awards that will help our volunteer Berkeley Heights Fire Department personal protective equipment and other tools they need. In addition, it has received a Union County grant to expand the "art in the park" display started in Peppertown Park.
The first grant award, for $27,000 is part of the $10 million American Rescue Plan (ARP) Firefighter Grants Program to local and regional fire departments across New Jersey to ensure firefighters have proper protective, cleaning, and sanitization equipment during this time of heightened community need. The grants were awarded to 293 fire departments after a competitive application process.
“Having appropriate gear, clothing, and equipment is critical for firefighters’ physical and mental health, particularly for those who serve in fire departments with limited operating budgets and large numbers of volunteers,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA). “For this reason, DCA is proud to help fire departments pay for these important resources so firefighters can safely and effectively serve the people in their communities.”
A full list of the recipients, including grant award, is posted here.
Grant applications were reviewed based on the following criteria:
- Scope of fire department need as demonstrated by equipment need, number of service calls, number of active firefighters, and population of service area.
- Impact of COVID-19 on the fire department as demonstrated by the impact of the virus on the firehouse and its personnel and the local impact of COVID-19 as it relates to fire department activities and response.
- Level of commitment to protecting firefighters as demonstrated by the local match to the grant funding and other grants for protective equipment or other firefighting projects.
The second grant award, in the amount of $2,000, is from FM Global and is focused on fire prevention; the money will be used to purchase two cameras to be used in fire investigations to determine causes and to help prevent future similar incidents.
In addition, Berkeley Heights has been approved for a $3,700 award from the Union County Cultural and Heritage Programs Advisory Board rom the FY2023 Union County Local Arts Program Grant (“LAP”), made possible by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. These grant funds are for: "Berkeley Heights Art in the Park - a Zoo Comes to Town!" This Zoo will be the 3rd seasonal Art In the Park display at Peppertown Park, the hub of the Berkeley Heights downtown. It will showcase the talents of our high school students and encourage residents and visitors to appreciate art. This project is a partnership between the Berkeley Heights Recreation Department and the Governor Livingston High School Woodworking class, Studio Advanced Art class and National Art Honor Society.
Under the direction of GL Woodworking teacher Michael Maresca, woodworking students will design and build 10 three-dimensional animal forms in large and small sizes. Under the direction of GL art teacher Michelle Harpster, the Open Studio/National Art Honor Society class will finalize the design through priming, design implementation and acrylic painting processes. Both Mr. Maresca and Ms. Harpster led their woodworking and art students in our current "butterflies in the park" display and have demonstrated not only their artistic talent and creativity, but great willingness to work with the Township and Recreation Commission on fine-tuning aspects of the project to make it extremely family friendly, provide maximum visibility to residents and visitors alike. After both the creation and design process have been completed, final models to be possibly revealed to the town for the first time in the community's 2023 Memorial Day parade and will be erected in Peppertown Park.