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In Teaneck, There Is Something for Everyone
Special to The New York Times
This township, the most heavily populated community in Bergen County with 44,000 residents, seems to have a good mix of shopping, housing and transportation that marks it as a suburb in every sense of the word. The scattered about town are recreational facilities that are supported by municipal funds. Tennis courts, for example, are neatly manicured, will tended and used by diverse age groups.
"Say what you will about our needs," a woman at the Municipal Building commented, "we feel that we have almost everything we need to be a comfortable community. We are also proud of the fact that no one can say that we have a black section or a Polish section or a Jewish section because we all live together. I can't tell you where any one group lives; I'd have to say anywhere."
Still, there is an issue that has aroused most of those who live in Teaneck. That is the proposal by the township government to construct high-rise apartment houses, motels and a business center in a redevelopment area off Route 80, at the southern end of this 6.22-square-mile community. The proposal was turned town recently, but there is talk that it will be reconsidered after the summer hiatus, perhaps late in September.
A second proposal that has created some differences of opinion was a recommendation by the Board of Education that a wing be added to the high school. Some people feel that there is a need for more space at the school at this time because enrollment has increased in recent years. But others are opposed to any new school building; the argue enrollment will show a decline, and they insist that taxes will go up more than necessary.
The tax structure has been one of the strengths of Teaneck. a revaluation of property took place in 1971, and houses are now assessed at about 90 per cent of their market value. The tax rate is $4.34 for each $100 of assessed valuation, which is 13 cents more that it was in 1973. There has never, in recent times, been an unusually large increase in the tax rate from year to year.
John Benavento, who has lived in Teaneck for 25 years, underscored the steadiness of municipal financing. "Taxes have gone up," he pointed out, "but now so that it would frighten you. But there has been great improvement in the business district on Cedar Lane, which is beginning to look like the old east side of New York. I mean that in a favorable way. I mean you can get almost anything right there without to go too far. And there is a good, friendly spirit between the merchants and their customers."
Cedar Lane, which is made up of modern stores, is the main shopping district of Teaneck. But there are also stores of Teaneck road and Queen Anne Road, which come off Cedar Lane, and a few scattered stores not far from private houses on other streets.
Off Cedar Lane, the township has constructed four municipal parking lots, where there is no charge and a three-hour limit. On the business street itself, the motorist can park for an hour without having to deposit a coin in a meter. The result is that the shopper can always find a place to park close to the store he is visiting.
"For the merchant, the setup here is very good." said Stan Newman, who took over a delicatessen and liquor store last November. "There is more variety of food here - from dozens of cultures - than you will find anywhere else. The parking and local revenue into this area because people in town find it convenient to shop here."
Mrs. Martha DiChiara, who has lived in Teaneck for 20 years, said that she found the food shopping in town "very good, indeed," but that when she needed clothes or larger household items, she went "to the big stores on the highway." She noted that there were buses to the shopping centers.
The recreational facilities were stressed by Ceci Oriol, who has lived here for 13 years. "There are all kinds of sports available here," she commented, "and it gives you the feeling you don't have to look elsewhere for relaxation. Right now, for example, there are plans to put up some more tennis courts that we'll be able to use next year."
Mrs. Oriol noted that one thing that had helped the community was the growth of Fairleigh Dickinson University's campus on River Road. (The University also has campuses in Madison and Rutherford.) "The kids have proved no problem," she said, "and they've helped the business district because they come in here to do their shopping.'
One of the things that troubled long-term residents was the need for improved sewage in the Warwick Avenue section. But the Township Council has authorized a @215,000 bond issue to improve the sewers and storm-drain system in Warwick Avenue from Windsor Road to an area near Essex Road.
"That is typical of this town," said a woman in a food shop on Teaneck Road. "Whatever has to be done is done so that we have the services we need. I don't think you'll find too many people here complaining about inability to get something done. We're not always satisfied, and we speak out when we have to, but we can't say that living here is bad,"
Teaneck Public Library
840 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666
Tel.: (201) 837-4171, Fax: (201) 837-0410