In 2014, everyone, it seemed, wanted to come to Morristown.
Good guys, bad guys, festivals, apartment buildings, daycare centers, posh restaurants… you name it, they flocked here. Or tried to.
THE FACE OF PROGRESS
After considerable public outreach, Morristown officials adopted a new master plan framing the town’s development goals. Now the council must enact ordinances to make the plan work.
And after many years on drawing boards, Morristown’s Speedwell Redevelopment finally started taking shape, with the opening of the Modera 44 apartment complex , and groundbreakings for a CVS pharmacy at Spring and Speedwell and a Whole Foods Market at the former A&P.
Another l-o-n-g drama was resolved when a tenant finally moved into Morristown’s historic Vail Mansion. And not just any tenant, but a renowned New York restaurateur, Chris Cannon, with ambitious plans for his upscale Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen.
Over the summer, Cannon insisted the palazzo mansion, built during World War I for AT&T magnate Theodore Vail, would be transformed in time to host authors from the first Morristown Festival of Books in September. It looked like an impossible task …
Video: Chris Cannon’s dream unfolds
…but Cannon delivered.
Daycare centers also wanted to settle in 07960. Who could be against that? Dozens of residents! They came out en masse to shoot down a center proposed for Turtle Drive (traffic concerns).
They have waged an equally determined battle against another center pitched for the busy Madison Avenue / Normandy Parkway intersection.
In Morris Township, plans proceeded for a housing/office complex to replace the Honeywell headquarters that will be departing to Morris Plains.
POLITICS: RECOUNTS AND CHALLENGES
Township voters ended their experiment with two-party governance, replacing the lone Democratic committeeman, Jeff Grayzel, with GOP newcomer Louise Johnson — though it took several recounts.
Morristown Council President Rebecca Feldman, an Independent who ran for state Assembly, joined a lawsuit aiming to scrap New Jersey’s primary system as unconstitutional. A federal judge rejected the argument; the case may be appealed.
In sports, the third time was the charm for Morristown High School’s hockey team, which won its first state title after falling just short in the prior two years:
Video: Morristown High’s first hockey crown
FESTIVITIES AND GENEROSITY
The aforementioned Morristown Festival of Books, meanwhile, got off to a successful start and is likely to become a tradition.
Morris Arts and the Morristown Partnership partnered on what may become another regular event, the Meet Me In Morristown series of summer sidewalk fairs.
Mayor Tim Dougherty’s run of great weather continued for his Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival, drawing a big, enthusiastic crowd for its fourth annual edition.
Video: Morristown Jazz & Blues Festival 2014
A few weeks later, the Gran Fondo NJ set new records for attendance and charity fund-raising, too.
Morristown’s Got Talent had a banner year as well, “going Hollywood” to raise a record $70,000 for programs in the Morris School District. Here’s the winning performance by Band of Misfits:
Video: Band of Misfits’ wins MGT
Morristown High received the biggest gift in its history, from the estate of sweethearts who met there.
The people of Greater Morristown were generous on many other fronts, from supporting the annual Hunger Walk by the Community Soup Kitchen to rallying ’round a campaign to fund research into a rare cancer that is testing the family that owns the South Street Creamery.
Video: Wellness on a grand scale
BOVINES MAKE THE POLICE BLOTTER
On the lighter side of law enforcement, Morristown and Township police had their hands full with a cattle stampede … well, a runaway cow, anyway:
Video: Motown Cowtown
In more serious law enforcement news, a man accused of two 2011 shootings in Morristown pled guilty to lesser charges. Another was arrested after allegedly ramming two Morristown police cars while fleeing a drug bust.
Miraculously, a motorist escaped unscathed when a youth tossed a rock from a parking deck, striking the car below. And a store clerk was fortunate to survive a neck-slashing by a knife-wielding robber this month.
Sadly, December also saw Morristown’s first fatal fire since 2009.
National news resonated here, as well. Residents came out for the second year to support cyclists from Newtown, CT., demanding tighter gun laws in the wake of the 2012 school massacre:
Video:Team 26 returns to Morristown
And in December, a diverse group gathered on the Presbyterian Church lawn, joining national “Black Lives Matter” rallies that were sparked by deaths of African Americans in confrontations with police in Missouri and New York City during the summer:
Video: ‘Black Lives Matter’ rally in Morristown
These are just a few of the stories that we remember from 2014; let us know what sticks in your mind.
We’ll close on a lighter note, by reprising the holiday wonders of Greater Morristown. Hope to see you at First Night Morris. Thanks for reading Morristown Green; we look forward to spending a memorable 2015 with you. Happy New Year!
Video: Greater Morristown 2014 holiday sights and sounds