Public Info

Union County Takes National Honors for History Projects

If you’ve been to the Deserted Village of Feltville recently, then you’ve seen the beautiful new signage that explains the site’s history.

If you’ve been to a local historic site, you may have picked up a new history card or had your passport stamped.

And if you were in Union County’s Oak Ridge Park last June, you were one of more than 5,000 people who witnessed one of the most spectacular re-enactments of the Battle of the Short Hills ever staged.

For all this and other history-related projects, Union County’s Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs is being recognized by the National Association of Counties (NACo) with two national achievement awards:

  • “The Feltville Interpretation Program,” the new interpretive signage at the Deserted Village was recognized for its contribution to the Arts, Culture and Historic Preservation.
  • “Embracing Our Historic Legacy” was recognized in the category of Civic Education and Public Information, for projects that included the new history card series, new signage reflecting the County’s inclusion in the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage area and sponsorship of the National Parks passport program, which has brought visitors from out of state to visit local historic sites.

Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados said the impact of Cultural & Heritage’s programs can be seen across the county, whether it is the Alexander Hamilton history card at Snyder Academy in Elizabeth or the creation of the Battle of the Short Hills Historic Trail through Scotch Plains.

“It is now hard to go anywhere in Union County without seeing a reminder that we were part of the American Revolution.  But our history did not end there.  We want folks to know about the famous authors and scientists who lived here, and the contributions they made, not just to our country, but in many cases, the world,” Chairman Granados said,

“Congratulations to everyone involved,” said Freeholder Bruce Bergen, the Freeholder liaison to Cultural & Heritage. As Chairman of the Freeholder Board last year, Bergen was one of the prime sponsors behind the Short Hills battle re-enactment. “These projects involved countless hours and dedication to see them through.”

“We have a county that is rich in history and we want our youngsters — and adults — to realize what a truly unique heritage we have,” Bergen said.

The two awards are significant coup for the County. No New Jersey county has received the award in the Arts, Culture & Historic Preservation category since 2007, nor has any county in the tri-state (NJ/NY/PA) area received the award.

The last New Jersey county to receive the Civic Education and Public Information award was Cape May County in 2010.

NACo President Roy Charles Brooks said, “Counties seize opportunities to deliver services more efficiently and build stronger communities every day. Achievement Award-winning programs are examples for counties that are determined to enhance services for our residents.”

Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide, Brooks said.

NACo will recognize award-winning counties at its 2018 Annual Conference and Exposition July 13-16 in Nashville/Davidson County, Tennessee.

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