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Mayor Clarence W. Brett
1946 - 1950 Chairman
SOURCE: The Record, Friday, October 8, 1971A Part of Teaneck Comes Home
By RON WERTHEIMER, Staff Writer
TEANECK - The threatening storm clouds which hovered overhead all morning parted as Clarence W. Brett drove his rented car up to the new park.
The 81-year-old former mayor bounded from the green sedan looking like a healthy 50 and gave a big wave. Jim Brett-that's what his friends call him-doesn't get back to town much since he retired to Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1964.
He's here for a week though, and for a good reason. Ten acres of Hackensack riverfront is about to be unveiled as Clarence W. Brett Park.
"It sorta makes a fella seem humble," he said. A few feet away front his car, workmen were preparing a sign for tomorrow's 2 p.m. ceremony.
It's a small favor from the town which Brett continues to refer to as home.I'd be lying if I didn't say this is still my home," he said. I have so many friends here, and so many memories.
Brett walked along the acreage which leads to the banks of the Hackensack River-it wasn't as clear as it was when he moved here from Massachusetts in 1918-and reminisced.
We had three or four thousand people here then," he recalled. "Where the park is, there used to be a farm. Right where we're walking now, that used to be a rhubarb patch.
"Brett spent 30 years in government in Teaneck, first as school board trustee in the 1930s, then 12 years on the Township Council. He was Mayor Brett from 1946 to 1950. The office gave him a seat on the Planning Board. He remained on the board until he left for Arizona.
He hasn't exactly been inactive in retirement either. Only last year he married for the third time.
During almost 50 years in Teaneck he saw a lot of growing, and had a hand in some of it.
"You know," he recalls, "the high school was supposed to be put up on Queen Anne Road where it meets Route 4 now. I went over to the site withmy friend Frank Sample. We had a group called the Teaneck Athletic Association. We weren't very athletic though."
"That flat ground on Queen Anne looked perfect for a sports field. We asked the town to buy the hill above the field. It was covered with pine trees.
"The pine trees are mostly gone now, and the high school ,which serves this town of 42,355 overlooks the playing field he and Frank Sample imagined.
With the exception of places like the new Brett Park, there are not too many open spaces left here anymore."You can build horizontally just so long, then you have to go vertically," Brett observes."I hate to say it, but I see high-rises coming to our town very soon."
Looking dapper in his cranberry shirt, Brett stopped his stroll and watched the workmen preparing the sign. He walked back to his car, and you could see a little twinkle of pride in his eye. He drove off down River Road, and overhead the storm clouds started rolling back over the park.
Visit Brett Park!
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