by Diane Norek Harrison
HIGHLAND PARK-The following is from Michael Johnson after my June 7 column. “Diane, I enjoyed your column in the recent NJTODAY.NET issue about ‘Remembering Highland Park.’ I am a former part time staff employee at the YM-YWHA of Raritan Valley, which was located on 2 South Adelaide Avenue. The Y was not mentioned within the article and I feel it should be recognized.
“I do not have much info or history about the YM-YWHA, but I found an article from March 4, 2008 from the NJ Jewish News. The Y originated in New Brunswick in 1911 and moved to Highland Park in 1955. At that time on 2 South Adelaide Avenue, there was the 150-year-old Meyer Rice Mansion. I believe the Y expanded upon the mansion.
“The Y remained in Highland Park until approximately August of 2006. Initial plans were to renovate and expand the facility but there was strong community opposition. Membership reduced from 1000 – 100 participants. According to the NJ Jewish news article, the Y was then planning on moving to East Brunswick. The property was then sold to Atlantic Realty. I am unsure of the current status of the YM-YWHA.
It is a shame that Highland Park does not have a Community Center such as the Y. While a staff person at the YM-YWHA for 18 years, I was also a full time staff person at the Westfield Area YMCA. I am currently at the YMCA of Eastern Union County, located in Elizabeth. As a Y professional, I recognize the importance and necessity of a Community Center. Hopefully, one day a Community Center will return to Highland Park.
While in Highland Park, the YM-YWHA at one time, had a strong community presence. This should still be recognized.”
If you have your own memories of the past in Middlesex or Union counties, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send copies of your material to me c/o CMD Media, 1139 East Jersey St., Suite 503, Elizabeth NJ, 07201
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