RP Ranks High In ‘Aging-Friendly’ Report
By Saul Qersdyn
Published: March 2, 2014 @ 10:03 AM EDT
A report release earlier this year by the non-profit group New Jersey Future (link) titled “Creating Places To Age In New Jersey” ranked Roselle Park as a community prepared to “adapt and accommodate the needs and preferences” of those 55 years and older.
The report studied numerous factors, including, according to Elaine Clisham from the organization, “How easy or difficult it will be for older residents, who may be facing mobility challenges, to accomplish their daily needs without having to drive long distances on busy regional roads.”
The study, in particular, addressed four (4) features – based on land-use patterns – to determine the “aging-friendliness” of the community. These factors, as noted by NJ Future, were:
- Compactness: The number of destinations per square mile – a higher number is better because it makes it easier for people of all ages to accomplish daily tasks efficiently;
- Center: The presence of a mixed-use downtown, fostering not just a high number but a greater variety of destinations in close proximity;
- Road Density: The existence of a well-connected local street network, allowing for walking and more direct access to destinations; and
- Bus Access: Access to public transportation, particularly local buses, enabling greater mobility for those who do not drive.
Roselle Park ranked ‘very high’ in Road Density – the only municipality in Union County to do so – and ‘excellent’ in access to public transportation.
With over 1 out of every 5 Roselle Park residents being over the age of 55, the borough is in-line with the statewide senior citizen population average of 25%
55 years and older 55 - 64 65 - 84 85 and older
New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes responsible land-use policies through research, analysis, and advocacy to drive land-use policies that help revitalize municipalities, protect natural lands and farms, provide more transportation choices beyond cars, expand access to safe and affordable neighborhoods, and fuel a prosperous economy.
Although the report is good news for the borough, the municipality’s move to establish senior housing which was supposed to begin construction in 2014 has been delayed for at least another year. The Domus Corporation – a housing and construction branch of Catholic Charities – was denied a grant application last year to help pay for the remediation needed to build senior housing in the borough. They will be applying this year through another grant application.
The site of the proposed housing is located at the current Department of Public Works (DPW) site. The governing body has already budgeted and approved $2.6 million – based on recommendations of Neglia Engineering which is the Borough’s engineer – to demolish the DPW building from its current location and build a new complex at the end of Laurel Avenue even though no plans nor specifics on the DPW have been presented to the public.