Groups set the agenda

Cranbury prepares for the upcoming year.

By: Jessica Beym
   The new year is almost here and the various groups and organizations in Cranbury are beginning to fill up their 2006 calendars with goals.
   While many of the traditional events will stay the same, members of the various organizations in town say there will be many new and exciting changes to look forward to.

Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society

   Members of the Historical and Preservation Society said 2005 was extremely busy.
   The society, which educates residents on the town’s history and preserves and restores buildings, celebrated its 35 anniversary this year.
   The town also took part in the celebration of the 25th year of Cranbury’s Historic District.
   President Carl Helstrom said that in 2006 the society will be going through an extensive planning process to evaluate how the society may have changed since its inception and what it can do to make improvements.
   "We’ll be looking at everything from the bottom up to see if we’re playing the role we should be," said Mr. Helstrom.
   Mr. Helstrom said he plans to hold discussions with members from the society and residents, to evaluate how the society benefits Cranbury.
   "We can always do better. We serve the township, so we want to ask our customers what we can do for them," he said. "There have been so many changes to Cranbury and we need to know if we are keeping pace."
   Mr. Helstrom said the society has held the role of providing historic education for the town through the museum and the history center, but wants to bring the focus back to preservation.
Cranbury Lions

   Throughout 2006, the Cranbury Lions, a volunteer organization that holds fundraisers and sponsors community services, will be preparing for its 75th anniversary celebration, which will be held in the summer of 2007.
   But in 2006, like every year, the Lions have a list of events planned, such as the annual golf outing at Peddie Golf Course in May, the Memorial Day parade, the Lions’ picnic in July and the annual Trenton Thunder baseball game.
   In the fall there will be the children’s Halloween party and the annual Pancake Breakfast with Santa in December.
   "We’re trying to put the ‘fun’ back in fundraiser," said Cranbury Lion Bob Virgadamo.
   In March, the Lions are planning a new event — an art auction of original work from local artists. More information will be provided as the date gets closer.
Parks and Shade Tree Commissions

   In 2005, new playground equipment was added to both Village and Millstone Parks.
   But as the Parks Commissions looks toward the future, Judy Dossin, the chairwoman of both commissions, said they are looking forward to a change in the township’s land use ordinance that would allow the commission to designate more land for the use of park space.
   "We’re in good shape with our parks, but we’re looking towards the future," she said.
Police Department

   In October, the Cranbury Police Department opened the doors of its new headquarters on Station Road. As they enter the new year, the police officers say they will still be settling into their new home.
   In the spring, Chief Jay Hansen said the department will provide a tour of the new station to the public. In addition, as the weather gets warmer Cranbury residents can expect to see more police officers patrolling the streets by bike.
   Chief Hansen said the department will continue to strictly enforce the speed limit in the village and throughout town.
   By the end of 2006, Chief Hansen said, he hopes to have established a traffic bureau for the Police Department.
   The Police Department will offer a first aid course to help create a core group of residents who are prepared and trained for emergencies. The police officers will train any resident interested in learning first aid and fire skills so they can help themselves or another member of the community during a dangerous situation.
   In the new year, Chief Hansen said, the department will be working with the New Jersey Association of Chiefs of Police to earn official accreditation from New Jersey.
   "It will help us to increase our professionalism and earn recognition for our services," said Chief Hansen.
Professional and Business Association

   The Professional and Business Association, a group of business owners and professionals that work to promote business in town, will be working to bring more new and exciting events to the annual Cranbury Day, which is held in September.
   President Joanne Meehan said group still has to meet to discuss possibilities.
   "We’re trying to reshape Cranbury Day and bring more attractions the public would enjoy," said Ms. Meehan.
   Ms. Meehan said the group also plans to work closer with the other organizations in town to open the lines of communication and on projects that will complement each other.
Public Library

   In 2006, the library will be celebrating 100 years of service to the township.
   Some of the programs to look forward to will be the World Culture Days, presented by the Student Library Council. During the monthly presentations, students present stories and research on different countries.
   Library Director Howard Zogott said he will be looking to add new programs that will reach out to different age groups such as teens and members of the baby-boomer generation.
   "We’ll take a look at what the community wants and see what they’re interested in," said Mr. Zogott.
   Mark the calendar for March 31, which will be the official library centennial celebration, an event that will last all day. There will be special story hours during school hours for the students, and after school the library is hoping to have a performance from the Cranbury School’s Garage Band.
   During the evening, all of Cranbury is invited to a celebration of music, entertainment and mingling.
Women’s Club

   After the success of the Cranbury Historic and Preservation Society’s anniversary dinner and dance in November, the Women’s Club is hoping to plan a social event of its own in 2006.
   "As town gets bigger, people don’t always get a chance to meet the new folks," said Joan Rue, president of the club.
   Ms. Rue said the Women’s Club will continue to hold fundraisers to support the New Jersey Food Banks in 2006 and will help out with its annual events such as decorating the barrels on Main Street for the Memorial Day parade.
   "We hope more people get to know us. The Women’s Club provides an opportunity for women to meet each other and learn something new," said Ms. Rue.