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A Grass Roots Town
By Councilman Frank Hall
When visitors come to Teaneck, they are generally impressed by a number of physical features. They see beautiful homes -- some contemporary, some Tudor, a few Pre-revolutionary colonials, and many other types. They see our broad "Main Street" called Cedar Lane, with its attractive shops and absence of overhead wires. They see our high school up on the hill, the two junior highs, and the eight elementary schools.
If they take the time to drive around town, they see our 19 municipal parks, our Richard Rodda Teaneck Recreation Center, our beautiful, recently remodeled library, and our entire municipal complex on Paul Volker Green. They'll see our university, Fairleigh Dickinson, our hospital Holy Name,. and our most recent addition Glenpointe with its Loew's Hotel, office building, atrium, and hundreds of townhouses. All this and much more in an area of about 7 1/2 square miles located just four miles from New York City.
But beautiful physical features are not unique to Teaneck. They can be found scattered throughout Bergen County. What really makes Teaneck unique is its people, its grass roots.
Throughout the years, ever since it established by referendum, its present non-partisan government in 1931, the town has attracted on the whole, very vocal, very active, and very dedicated people who have chosen to move into Teaneck. Some 200 of them serve the town on the Township Council's various advisory boards, and there are more than 80 organizations in town composed of people with causes in some cases, and without causes in others.
Everywhere you look you see "Teaneck Citizens for ..." (and against), "Concerned Citizens...", "Concerned Parents ...," "Friends of the Library," and many, many others. And that's not counting PTAs, PTOs, PTSAs', service organizations -- such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, City Club, Elks, Moose, Knights of Columbus, Women's Club, Garden Club, Cooper Avenue Garden Club -- and veteran's organizations, such as American Legion, Jewish War Veterans, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. And the list goes on and on. Each organization contributes full measure to the town.
There arc more than 20 religious institutions in town, including 11 Protestant, one Roman Catholic, St. Anastasias with its elementary school, seven synagogues and temples, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Ethical Culture, and soon, Islamic Mosque. Each of these religious organizations contribute to out community; many of them house day-care centers, and nursery schools, besides providing for the religious education of their own members. A number of them joined together and came up with the Senior Citizens Housing complex on East Cedar Lane.
The Ambulance Corps is probably the most outstanding example of selfless, dedicated volunteerism we have. Some 80 members man (and woman) the Corps Headquarters 24 hours a day.
Each night. crews sleep in the building so response to emergency calls can be made within five minutes to any location in town. Many members are nurses and medical technicians who moonlight at the corps. No member collects a dime, and last year the corps made 2,850 house calls. That's about eight house calls a day.
One further example of Teaneck's grass roots culture: The Teaneck Housing Center. which operates with volunteers throughout the year, selling the merits of Teaneck across the country. Then, in the spring, they organize Discover Teaneck. This year it's a whole week, and hundreds of volunteers will join them to help make this a week that we will all remember. Teaneck residents and visitors alike.
Through efforts such as these, the Teaneck Housing Center is attracting more and more active, vocal, and dedicated people, who are choosing to move into Teaneck -- people who very quickly put down roots and become part of the heterogeneous Teaneck family, where people of all religious, ethnic, and racial backgrounds work together for the betterment of our town. The grass roots are alive and healthy.
Teaneck Public Library
840 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666
Tel.: (201) 837-4171, Fax: (201) 837-0410