The Maplewood Community Action Program (MCAP), a new community building initiative, will hold its first meeting Monday, April 22 from 7 - 9 p.m. at the Maplewood Memorial Library.
MCAP is open to all Maplewood residents. The launch meeting will feature reports from Maplewood Police Chief Robert Cimino and an officer from the department's Crime Prevention Unit, as well as from Director of Public Works Eric Burbank. Township Committeewoman India Larrier will also attend.
Township Committeeman Marlon K. Brownlee, who heads the Public Safety Committee and is spearheading MCAP, said the program's goal is to ensure that life in Maplewood is as good as possible for all residents.
Brownlee said the idea stemmed from the PTA Presidents Council and from neighborhood watch groups such as the Hilton Neighborhood Association, which has been an active community group of Hilton residents for 18 years.
Four times a year, MCAP meetings will feature reports from different township representatives and will encourage ongoing discussions among residents. Representatives will have the chance to discuss key issues with the public and also to exchange ideas with each other. Attendees will be encourged to give speakers feedback on specific concerns about their neighborhoods, so that department representatives can collect feedback from all over town more efficiently.
Brownlee said that during Hurricane Sandy, public officials gave updates at public places like the library or Morrow Memorial Church. Still, this meant many people still didn't get information.
"I believe we need to identify and put in place a mix of ways to disseminate information to ensure that all residents are updated when necessary," Brownlee said. "Not every communication method has to be a 'high-tech' one - in this case, it might be as simple in some neighborhoods as posting information on a particular tree that everyone knows about."
Brownlee said he is excited about the initiative. "I'm looking forward to the kickoff on Monday night," he said.