Voters in NJ town may change name back

August 28, 2009 3:53:19 PM PDT
Voters in one New Jersey town will be asked to change the town's name back. By majority vote, West Paterson became Woodland Park on January 1, 2009.

"We have many forests, woods in town, lots of deer, and so it seemed like a perfect name to describe our town," resident Bob Dicker said. "Woodland Park represents a new beginning for this town, new prosperity, new growth."

But, another group of locals say the town didn't need a new beginning that began with trashing the old name.

"It's been W. Paterson since, I believe its 1914," Tom Stewart of Bromilow's Chocolates said.

Five generations of the family have been making Bromilow's Chocolates in what started out as West Paterson. And they want the name back.

"We were able to secure over 24-hundred signatures in order to put it back on the ballot," he said.

The name game has gotten a little national ribbing. And the debate ticks on, neighbor against neighbor.

"I've lived in West Paterson for over 45 years, that's what I've always known it as," Terry Vittorio said.

"West Paterson or Woodland Park? "Woodland Park, I like it best...yes," Frank Adamo said.

This is clearly a town still in transition. The West Paterson Rescue Squad still calls itself West Paterson. They're advertising their annual fund raiser, but the address you send donations to says Woodland Park.

Judy Karp says it was a 20 year fight to change the name. Critics claim it was all to distance the town from its urban neighbor, Paterson.

"Absolutely not true," Karp said. "We wouldn't want to be North Monmouth or South Ridgewood. We want to be Woodland Park. Our own identity."

And so it is. Eight months into the name change, police cars are re-marked, the new town emblem is hanging, and some are getting tired of the rift.

"They've already done the changing of the name on the police cars and other things and spending money so why waste my tax dollars?" Mark Schmidt wondered.

Woodland Park won last time by just over 2 dozen votes. On November 3rd, they vote again.


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