The Rail-Arts-River planning team, including representatives from the LRWP, coLAB Arts, Rutgers Landscape Architecture and Middlesex County Department of Planning, have been busy working on the framework for Rail-Arts-River’s Year One impacts and are ready to share the work that came out of spring and summer development.
Please join us on Thursday November 12 at 9:30 AM when we will share planned deliverables through summer 2016 and engage you with that work.
Where: Middlesex County Administrative Building, at 75 Bayard Street, 5th Floor Conference Room
When: Thursday, November 12 at 9:30 AM
If needed, parking is available at the Robert Wood Johnson Wellness Center Parking Deck located at 95 Paterson Street (Level 5 and higher) – attendees should bring their parking tickets to the meeting for validation.
Short-term impacts for 2016 are outlined as follows:
1. Watershed Sculpture Project – our ongoing visual art project that incorporates refuse from the watershed into pieces of public art. We just finished our second round of commissions, and unveiled them last week. The project was recently honored by the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions. Next steps are to organize Woodbridge and Perth Amboy arts groups to adopt this program in their respective towns.
2. Rutgers Landscape Architecture Praxis Studio – work with residents and community organizers to identify areas in New Brunswick that aren’t part of city or university development plans, but are opportunities for cultural and environmental design.
3. The Run Off – a large community event/flash mob that will serve as a press opportunity at the end of the spring, that illustrates the movement of water through the city, by way of moving physical bodies through the city. As with the digital kiosk, New Brunswick would be our pilot, with Woodbridge and Perth Amboy to follow.
4. Digital Kiosks – pilot the installation of a physical interactive digital kiosk that incorporates the story and data about the watershed, and how New Brunswick interacts with it ecologically and through municipal access. The kiosk is also an opportunity to further engage the public with the history of New Brunswick and downtown business. New Brunswick would be the first post and feature local business sponsors. Woodbridge and Perth Amboy locations, with local content, would follow.
5. Commercial Avenue green infrastructure pilot – facilitate partnership with the Rutgers Safety Building and city DOT to install creative and artistic opportunities for rain capture and water remediation, and provide wayfinding opportunity down Commercial Avenue towards Boyd Park.
We will also present our concept plan for a long-term impact in Boyd Park, a plan that developed out of the June 2015 Sustainable Cities Design Academy:
Boyd Park wetland pilot – a long-term version for the impact of Rail-Arts-River in New Brunswick, is to create a destination performing arts space at Boyd Park that incorporates the natural environment of the river and riverbank into its design. This pilot wetland project is meant to demonstrate the design, infrastructure, beauty, and scientific curiosity that can be introduced into the park.
**This event has been CANCELLED due to slippery conditions and rain. Please come back for information on a new date.
Tuesday November 10 at 10 AM, as part of New Brunswick Municipal Public Access Plan planning effort coordinated by the Environmental Analysis and Communications Group at Rutgers, we will be walking through the Raritan Riverfront Conservation Zone to see what public access might look like in that area.
We will meet in the back right corner of the Lowes Movie Theater on Route 1. For folks using GPS the address is: 17 Us Highway #1, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. From there we will walk along the gravel path in New Brunswick’s “Raritan Riverfront Conservation Zone” and if we have the stamina following the conservation zone foray we can also consider walking in a relatively accessible segment of riverfront leading to Carpenter Road. Message us if you are interested in joining the walk: hfenyk AT lowerraritanwatershed.org
The November LRWP meeting, co-hosted by the Middlesex County Water Resources Association, will be a field trip to the Middlesex Water Company’s Carl J. Olsen Water Treatment Plant facilities in Edison located at 100 Fairview Avenue in Edison, NJ 08817. Please join us on Monday November 9th for this special opportunity. Lunch, courtesy of Middlesex Water, will be served at 1 PM followed by the tour from 1:30-3:00 PM. As we need a head count for lunch RSVP to lori.kahel AT co.middlesex.nj.us
The Middlesex Water Company owns and operates regulated water utility and wastewater systems in portions of the Lower Raritan Watershed, and operates wastewater systems under contract on behalf of several Lower Raritan Watershed communities. Water is provided under wholesale contracts to Edison, the Borough of Highland Park and the Old Bridge Municipal Utilities Authority. Retail customers are located in Woodbridge Township, the City of South Amboy, the Borough of Metuchen, portions of Edison and the Borough of South Plainfield. Contract sales to Edison, Old Bridge and Marlboro are supplemental to the existing water systems in those towns. Middlesex is the sole source of water for Highland Park and East Brunswick. Through their “Utility Service Affiliates,” Middlesex Water operates the City of Perth Amboy’s water and wastewater systems.
The principal source of surface water for the Middlesex Water Company’s system is the Delaware & Raritan Canal, which is owned by the State of NJ and operated as a water resource by the New Jersey Water Supply Authority (NJWSA). The Middlesex Water Company is under contract with NJWSA.
Join us on Thursday October 29 from 6-9 PM for the unveiling of the 2015 Watershed Sculptures.
This is the second year of a partnership between the LRWP and coLAB Arts. Our groups provide refuse from stream clean ups to artists who rework them as masterwork sculptures.
Sponsored by the RWJUH Wellness Center, the evening will include an artist meet and greet, music by Little Rose, heavy hors d’oevres and a silent auction. Beer and wine will be available.
At our October 20 meeting, 9 AM-noon, former WMA9 Watershed Ambassador Jon Dugan will present findings from habitat and biological monitoring at sites in the LRW. Is there a site you want included for monitoring in 2016? Come ready to discuss recommendations for future monitoring, action and restoration.
Please note our NEW meeting location in the 5th Floor Conference Room in the Middlesex County Administration Offices at 75 Bayard Street.
Meeting attendees can park in the Robert Wood Johnson Wellness Center Parking Deck located at 95 Paterson Street on floors 5 and above (note that levels 3 and 4 are only for supermarket and RWJ use).
A maximum three (3) hours of parking will be validated for our meeting, and attendees will have to visit the Second Floor of the Administration Building to have their ticket validated.
We can’t think of a better way to launch our new website than with a recap of the fun had on September 27, 2015 at the annual Raritan River Festival in New Brunswick’s Boyd Park, and with the story of the first Raritan River Festival held on August 16th, 1980.
The first Raritan River Festival was held as part of the 300th Anniversary Celebration of the City of New Brunswick and combined community entertainment and celebration with environmental awareness and action. The goal, according to the Festival Chairman MC (Mac) Babcock was to “demonstrate the recreational and artistic potential of our riverfront.”
On that sunny Saturday in 1980 hundreds of people crowded the banks of the river to watch parades of decorated boats, raft races, canoe races and to witness the arrival of Folk Music Legend, Pete Seeger on the good ship Clearwater. The Festival has since been awarded “Living Legend” status by the United States Library of Congress.
At the LRWP we are driven by the same spirit that launched the Raritan River Festival 35 years ago. We too want to demonstrate, and celebrate, the potential of the Raritan River throughout the Lower Raritan Watershed. We do this through data gathering and reporting, civic science and environmental education and outreach. We do this through a host of collaborative work with artists, academics, planners, engineers, and local and regional stakeholders, and by having a lot of fun.
Speaking of fun: This year the rubber duck and cardboard canoe races were nail biters. Sorry to say the LRWP ducks didn’t win, but the LRWP canoe came in 4th overall!
Many thanks for help at the Festival to our new AmeriCorps NJ Watershed Ambassadors Program Ambassadors for bringing out their enviroscape, to our wonderful volunteers and interns, and to the amazing COLAB ARTS sculptors who installed the “Found in the Watershed” sculptures on river’s edge.
Please plan to join us for more fun at our gallery opening fundraiser “sculpture unveiling” from 6-9PM October 29 when these artworks will be installed in the Robert Wood Johnson Fitness & Wellness Center. For more information about the gallery event and to purchase tickets, check out the sculpture project website.
Thanks for visiting, and see you in the watershed!
Heather Fenyk, President
Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership