Belleville’s State of the Township event set for late April

Belleville Mayor Michael A. Melham Observer file photo

The “State of the Township” address in Belleville has evolved to become an annual celebration, moreso than a traditional government speech from Mayor Michael A. Melham. It has become an event for the township to mark its major milestones, while announcing future initiatives, in a festive, fun atmosphere.

While seats remain, residents are invited, for a small, nominal fee, to be part of the live audience as Melham delivers the address, set for 6 p.m., Monday, April 29 at Nanina’s in the Park, 540 Mill St. As taxpayer funds are not used for this event, there is a fee to attend, covering expenses. Excess funds are used for charity via the non-profit Michael Melham Civic Association.

“When we began the State of the Township address when I first was elected to office, I thought it was important to celebrate all that Belleville can be, our enormous potential,” Melham said. “Today, through the work and vision of this administration, as well as a proactive and committed Township Council, we have been able to accomplish so much together over the past six years of hard work. And I feel we are still just getting started.”

Near the top of the list of highlights is the number of redevelopment projects that continue to break ground around the township, with investors attracted to Belleville’s strategic proximity to mass transportation, highways and major commercial hubs.

While Belleville is just minutes from Manhattan by rail, it has still managed to remain somewhat affordable. And, it enjoys tight-knit, generally safe neighborhoods with housing prices at all levels.

“So much of our success since I was elected mayor in 2018 can be traced to ensuring our local law enforcement is second to none,” Melham said. “We have invested in the latest crime-fighting technologies, such as cameras, as well as have focused on getting back to the basics, with officers walking the beat or going on bike patrols. Our officers have developed deep relationships in all of our neighborhoods, and the entire community has benefitted.”

Public safety goes hand-in-hand with civic pride, Melham says. Belleville residents are joining in with spring plantings in the commercial shopping districts, bright, hand-painted murals in areas that had once appeared neglected and a collective effort to remove litter from the streets and waterways, as Belleville leverages its Clean Communities state funding to coordinate volunteer clean-ups through the Green Team.

The mayor says he will continue to highlight the reality dozens of ethnicities are represented in Belleville, and township officials say they’re eager to celebrate diverse cultures at every turn. Celebrations to mark Three Kings Day and Chinese New Year are just a few of the ways Belleville pays homage to its long, welcoming history of acceptance and tolerance.

Reinvigorating Belleville’s aging housing stock has also been a focal point of Melham’s tenure. As private investment dollars pour in to Belleville, offsetting the tax burden for residents and further improving services for seniors and youth, there are a number of new projects he will highlight.

And although housing remains a priority, the township has also been able to work with developers to transform long-dormant industrial and commercial properties into new, tax-generating opportunities.

Seating is limited for the 2024 State of the Township Address. Tickets may be purchased at Tickets will not be available at the door.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.