Maple Grange Park Open to Walkers, Runners & Other Non-Group Activities

Posted: March 17, 2020

Posted Wednesday, March 18, 2020: We have been notified by the New Jersey Department of Health and the Office of Emergency Management that all playgrounds in parks which are open should be roped off and remain closed until further notice.

As one of the several actions that I have taken as mayor to protect the residents of Vernon by doing what I considered to be proactive and prudent things to prevent/limit the possible spread of the Coronavirus, I made the decision to close Vernon Township’s municipal parks.

After listening to very reasonable feedback from a host of Vernon residents, plus researching what other mayors, governors and others in political leadership positions have done as it relates to closing outdoor parks, I have concluded that my decision to close our municipal Parks—and specifically Maple Grange Park which is heavily used by walkers, runners and individuals walking their dogs—did not adequately weigh the danger of group gatherings versus the physical, mental and emotional benefits of healthful outdoor recreation.

And therefore, after listening to very reasonable feedback from a host of Vernon residents, effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020, I have opened Maple Grange Park for non-group recreation such as walking, running and individual walking of animals, all to be done while practicing the recommended social distancing of staying at least six feet away from one another.

All sports and group activities in the parks remain cancelled/discouraged until further notice.

It’s clear from the guidance of county, state, national and international health officials that avoiding group gatherings and exercising social distancing are the key means of preventing/limiting the possible spread of the Coronavirus; therefore, I hope that you understand that if we find that opening Maple Grange Park to non-group recreation such as walking, running and individual walking of animals results in group gatherings, I will have no choice but to close the park.

Below are two other Coronavirus related pieces of information that Vernon residents may find helpful:

  • Because of the economic strain that this Coronavirus crisis can put on individuals and families, JCP&L has committed to discontinue power shutoffs for those who are past due on their electric bills. In addition, residential customers who are facing a hardship due to the lack of income during this time should contact JCP&L at (800) 662-3115 as soon as they are aware that paying their bill might become difficult. Options include budget billing, a program that averages usage over 12 months to offer the same bill amount each month, as well as energy assistance programs or other payment arrangements based on a customers’ situation.
  • To support the effort of encouraging individuals to stay home to prevent/limit the possible spread of the Coronavirus, the NJMVC will extend expiration dates for driver licenses, registrations and inspection stickers. Effective immediately, the NJMVC will grant a two-month extension for:
  • Driver licenses expiring in March, April and May
  • Registrations expiring in March, April and May
  • Inspection stickers expiring in March, April and May

All residents who have their driver’s licenses, auto registration, or vehicle inspection due for a renewal by May 31 will receive an automatic two-month extension.

In great part because of your cooperation, your willingness to look out for each other, and other responsible civic actions, as of today, there are still no confirmed Coronavirus cases in Vernon or Sussex County. You have my commitment that I will do everything that I can to keep it that way!

Howard L. Burrell, Mayor