Morristown mayor, parade officials hope parade will cheer Morris County residents struggling from storms

South Street on Friday, one day before the 2018 Morris County St. Patrick's Parade. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
South Street on Friday, one day before the 2018 Morris County St. Patrick's Parade. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Across Morris County, almost 25,000 customers of Jersey Central Power & Light–including some 2,500 in Morris Township and Morristown– are without power after back-to-back nor-easters pounded the region this month.

Downed trees are everywhere. Some streets remain closed. Snowbanks are piled high.

But the Morris County St. Patrick’s Parade will march down South Street in Morristown as scheduled at noon on Saturday, March 10, 2018.

Bagpipers at the Morris County St. Patrick's Parade 2017. Photo by Katharine Boyle
Bagpipers at the Morris County St. Patrick’s Parade 2017. Photo by Katharine Boyle

The parade committee says postponing the parade until its March 24 makeup date would result in a much smaller event that would hurt its ability to donate money to local charities.

Pushing back the parade also would create a conflict with the March for Our Lives, a gun safety march in Morristown that is part of a nationwide protest in the wake of the Valentine’s Day massacre at a Parkland FL high school.

Mayor Tim Dougherty said he would be happy to sort that out if the parade people wished to postpone the parade. But perhaps, he said, an upbeat parade will provide a couple of hours of respite for people weary of chilly nights without lights or heat.

“This could be a positive thing,” said Dougherty, asserting the downtown is ready thanks to dilgent efforts by public works crews.

But he expressed anger that the misery of Hurricanes Irene and Sandy is playing out once again.

“It’s very frustrating. I’m getting constant calls from people who are out of power for days. They can’t get word back from JCP&L… This is an absolute disaster in Morris County, and JCP&L’s response is a disgrace.”

“We know customers are frustrated and we are working as quickly and safely as possible to restore our customers to service. We will continue to update the mayor and our customers,” said JCP&L spokesman Ron Morano.
 
The utility now says it hopes to restore power for northern New Jersey customers who lost power during the first nor-easter, Riley, by 11:30 pm on Saturday, March 10, 2018.
 
For those without electricity from Quinn, this week’s snowy nor’easter, power may not be back until 11:30 pm on Wednesday, March 14.
 
Another 500 utility workers were scheduled to arrive in New Jersey on Friday, bringing the total to 5,000 people working to restore power, according to JCP&L.
 
So far, more than 500 utility poles have been replaced, along with 1,400 spans of wire, Morano said. Some 10,000 downed trees have exacerbated the situation, Morano said.
 
Forecasters are keeping an eye on another storm that could be heading this way early next week. The Morris County Office of Emergency Management said it appears likely that this one will pass to the south of New Jersey.
 
Because of this week’s massive snowfall, Morristown street parking will be even tighter than usual. Officials are urging spectators to park free between 10 am and 6 pm at Morristown Parking Authority garages on DeHart Street, Ann/Bank streets, and Cattano Avenue.
 
Morristown street closures for 2018 Morris County St. Patrick's Parade. Source: Morristown Partnership
Morristown street closures for 2018 Morris County St. Patrick’s Parade. Source: Morristown Partnership
 

The parade committee, comprising members of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the Irish American Association of Northwest New Jersey, issued this statement from parade Chairman Jeff Rawding:

“The town has done a tremendous job and cleared the sidewalks, free parking is available in all parking decks and the weather will be cooperative.

“The Mayor and the Parade Committee have been asked why have the parade given the rough weather conditions over the past week?  The simple answer is what better way to shake off and put behind this terrible stretch of weather than with a great family parade.

“While we do have an alternative date for the parade in the event of extreme weather, changing the date of the parade would mean we would lose a great number of the participants to other commitments and more importantly all but eliminate the charitable donations that the parade gives every year.  

“The parade is self-funded every year through the generous donations of our sponsors and all proceeds beyond the parade expenses go directly to local charities such as the Neighborhood House, Employment Horizons, Special Olympics and many others. The cost of running the parade on the rain date would essentially eliminate our charitable giving,” Rawding said.

Some 21 bands and 84 organizations, including MorristownGreen.com, are scheduled to march.  The parade starts at Morristown town hall, at 200 South St., winds around the Morristown Green, and concludes at Morristown High School.

Pre-parade events include a 10 a.m. Mass at Assumption Church on Maple Avenue, and entertainment starting around 10:15 am at the reviewing stand in front of the Presbyterian Church on the Green.

There will be Irish Step Dancing, Green Shamrocks chalked on the street by Special Olympians, and music by Paddy and the Pale Boys and a fife and drum band. An actor will read Gen. George Washington Orders of the Day; Maxwell’s Brigade will fire muskets, and  Sara McCabe will sing the Nation Anthem and the Irish Anthem in Irish, as Grand Marshal John Murphy approaches the reviewing stand.     

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Last night I counted 13 line trucks pulling in to 111 Madison Ave to park for the night.
    It was 9 pm.
    I saw the same thing at the burger king parking lot and Alfred Vail school .
    Tell the mayor to get a life .
    Dangerous work and long hours.
    I have never replied to anything before but his comment makes my blood boil
    Ron Morano is doing a great job.
    There’s just so much of it

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