The construction at the Richard Rodda Community Center neared completion. With anticipated completion in the spring of 1998, the Center will be the new home of the Department of Recreation, Senior Citizens Services center, Nursery and After-school Programs, a second gymnasium and several meeting and specialty rooms.
The Township Recreation Department offered year round activities and services to residents young and old. In 1997, very popular programs such as Sports & Arts, and Summer Day Camps, kindergym, toddlekins, creative dance, swim and exercise classes, golf, wrestling, open basketball and volleyball, gymnastics, aerobics, arts & crafts, tennis, track, weight lifting, and the playground program generated the interest of over 7,500 children and adults. With the onset of each season, the Recreation Department offered a new session of classes. Each season an average of 30 different programs were offered with the exception of summer in which as many as 50 different programs were offered and facilities such as pools, ballfields, wading pools and picnic areas were available for use. At the Teaneck Recreation Center (1425 Teaneck Road), the Recreation Department offered a Toddler Nursery Program for ages 3 & 4 and an After School Child Care Program for children in grades kindergarten through grade seven. These two programs run daily from September through June and observe the Teaneck Public Schools closing schedule. A total of 185 township children are served from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Daily activities at the center include arts & crafts, cooking, sports and games, special story times and homework times. There were special event days in addition to a trip to Pennings Orchard for apple picking Toddlers. In November a Thanksgiving Feast was prepared with the help of all the parents, serving a variety of specialty foods from many different cultures. The children held a parade and performed songs they had learned while parents and family enjoyed soup prepared by the children and enjoyed the foods from the many different homes of the children. The end of the year toddler party, held in Votee Park, began as a bar-b-que for children and their families and ended with performances by the children and a graduation ceremony for 30 kids moving on to kindergarten the following Fall. Happy tears, "goodbye"s, and lots of see-"ya"s marked the end of another successful year.
At the Senior Citizens Services Center, the Recreation Department offered a wide range of activities for older adults. The Center's goal, is to provide comprehensive, therapeutic, recreational programs as well as a daily nutrition program. Highlights of the past year included classes in low impact aerobics, chair exercises, clay sculpting, water color painting, quilting, wood carving, bridge instruction, ceramics, ballroom and line dancing, Yiddish instruction and doll designing. Monthly trips to Atlantic City were taken during the year in addition to special event trips to other Centers and local schools to see children's' performances, and educational seminars. Bi-monthly the Center celebrates all the birthdays of the previous months with a special birthday party complete with cake, balloons and singing. Each activity offered at the Center was designed to provide older adults with an outlet to continue to grow, learn and feel challenged while interacting with their peers, with an emphasis on health promotion and prevention. In addition, services were provided in geriatric assessment, health consultations, counseling, information and assistance. More than 800 senior residents participated in the activities offered at the center. The Bergen County Division on aging funds the nutrition program that provided hot lunches Monday through Friday delivered fresh daily to the Town House. Bergen County Department of Special Transportation provided daily transportation for those needing assistance to and from the Center. The Bergen Pines Medical Outreach Clinic, located in the Town House, provides primary health care to senior patients. The clinic accepts appointments each Friday and is open from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. The Doctor can either treat the patient or recommend primary care, which may have to be met outside of the clinic. The Doctor is capable of treating up to 16 patients per day, and the outreach clinic treated over 200 patients in 1997. Included in 1997, a podiatrist was available to see patients once per month.
The Township van provided transportation five days a week for disabled and senior residents for shopping and medical appointments. On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays the van was scheduled for medical appointments to local Doctors, hospitals and clinics. On Wednesdays and Thursdays trips were taken to the Pathmark in Bergenfield for food shopping. At Pathmark, each member of our Teaneck group is given a $2.00 shopping coupon, courtesy of the store manager. Upon returning to their homes, door to door service is guaranteed as each shopper has their bags carried in for them by our drivers. Over 2,850 senior and disabled residents took advantage of the free transportation service offered in 1997.
Through the recreation component of the High School FORUM, the Recreation Department provided supervisors, transportation and admission fees for its special events and held open gym throughout the year and summer. Several of the trips that were taken included: Great Adventure, Liberty Science Center, Horse Back Riding, Nets Basketball Games, Devils hockey games, and 1997 NBA draft.
Each summer the Recreation Department puts on the Summer Band Concert Series at the Votee Park Bandshell. The Band consists of over 100 volunteer local musicians who spend their summer rehearsing and performing weekly (Wednesday night, 8:30 p.m.) concerts 1 1/2 hours in length. Each evening highlighted a special guest soloist. With no rain dates in 1997, the concerts drew audiences of up to 250, who all brought their blankets and lawn chairs to relax under the stars in Votee Park and listen to conductor Thomas Winter lead the band through classic after classic. There is no better way to enjoy a summer evening in Teaneck. The Township pools, located in Votee Park (in-ground), Hawthorne Park (above ground), and Phelps Park (above ground) were kept busy during the summer months by over 4,300 residents who obtained badges to use the facilities. The thirteen wading pools, located in various parks were all staffed with attendants and well attended by children of all ages just looking to cool off. Work began on resurfacing the tennis courts located in Hawthorne Park. Over 400 Tennis badges were sold to both student and adult residents for use of the other 15-courts in town.
The Fourth of July Celebration in Votee Park marked the Departments 6th year of hosting the post parade party near the bandshell area. 1997 was the biggest celebration yet. Children were treated to magic, comedy and puppet shows, face painters, train rides, pony rides, balloon makers, a moonwalk, a sea of balls and a giant inflatable slide. Special guests on site were an Uncle Sam stilt walker, Elmo from Sesame Street, walk around clowns, magicians and Minnie Mouse. Other attractions included demonstrations by Teaneck Firemen and their trucks, and close up looks at Police vehicles including their new motorcycle. Several hundred people were drawn to the activities offered in the park to celebrate the holiday.
Redevelopment was done to John F Mackel Park on Teaneck Road using a Community Development grant. The project included the removal of an old basketball court, replacing a play structure, remodeling and moving the spray pool and changing the landscape of the park with walking paths and street lamps.
Thousands of children participated in one or more of the several sports organizations offered throughout the Township. 1997 was a banner season for the Teaneck Southern Little League. The League served over 370 youngsters providing a safety conscious baseball environment from the beginning of practice season in March to the conclusion of All-Star competition in August and resuming with a Fall program which spanned September and October. All age levels from 8 to 12 had involvement in All-Star competitions during the year with our 8 year old team sweeping two post season tournaments without a loss. The 9 year old and 10 year old teams each came within a victory of their respective championships as well. At Southern Little League, the accent continues to be on safety and instruction as the League plans for its upcoming season. It has been decided that full face-mask helmets will be featured on TSLL helmets next year and an extensive Fall training program has already been planned. The Teaneck Junior Highwaywomens's basketball team were undefeated in Bergen County the second year in a row. They also beat teams from Hudson, Essex, and Passaic Counties for an overall record of 21-2 and an average score of 35-12. The Teams MVP was point guard Cavonne Smith who scored an astonishing 378 points including 30 points from the 3 point line. Second highest scorer was power forward Kyndall Johnston with 150 points. Shannon Tiacker, Jennifer Hall, and Moniphia Granston rounded out the starting five. The Teaneck Junior Pee-Wee Division of Football was undefeated in it's 1997 season. The Teaneck Junior PeeWee Cheerleaders had an opportunity to compete and place second at the Cheerleading competition held at Paramus High School. Athletes participating in baseball, softball, soccer and basketball all had a wonderful year with organizations working very hard to keep our youth active. None of which would be possible without the help of the hundreds of adults who volunteer their time to our kids. Information about the Recreation Department
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