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Mahwah, New Jersey
Township in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States
The area that is now Mahwah was originally formed as Hohokus Township on April 9, 1849, from portions of the former Franklin Township (now Wyckoff). While known as Hohokus Township, territory was taken to form Orvil Township (on January 1, 1886; remainder of township is now Waldwick), Allendale (November 10, 1894), Upper Saddle River (November 22, 1894), and Ramsey (March 10, 1908). On November 7, 1944, the area was incorporated by an act of the New Jersey Legislature as the Township of Mahwah, based on the results of a referendum held that day, replacing Hohokus Township.New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Mahwah as its ninth best place to live in its 2008 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey.
The Lenape and ancestral indigenous peoples were the original inhabitants of Mahwah (the meeting place) and surrounding area. Their descendants have combined with other Native Americans and ethnicities and were recognized in 1980 by the state as the Ramapough Mountain Indians. They number approximately 5,000 people living around the Ramapo Mountains of northern New Jersey and southern New York. The tribe is officially recognized by New Jersey, but does not have federal recognition. Their tribal office is located on Stag Hill Road in Mahwah, and the Chief of the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation is Dwaine Perry (as of March 2007).
Ford Motor Company operated the Mahwah Assembly plant from 1955, producing 6 million cars in the 25 years it operated before the last car rolled off the line on June 20, 1980. At the time of its completion, it was the largest motor vehicle assembly plant in the United States. The Ford plant, along with other businesses such as American Brake Shoe and Foundry Company, helped contribute to the economic development of the town and its reputation for low home property taxes. The Mahwah town sports teams remain named Thunderbirds in honor of the Ford plant.
Due to contractors' dumping of hazardous wastes at the Ringwood Mines landfill site before federal regulation, it has been designated as an EPA Superfund site which needs extensive environmental cleanup. In 2006, some 600 Ramapough Indians filed a mass tort claim against Ford for damages. Mahwah, and the closure of the Ford plant, is mentioned in the opening line of the 1982 Bruce Springsteen song "Johnny 99".
Franklin Turnpike in Mahwah with the Manhattan skyline 30 miles (48 km) distant.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 25.88 square miles (67.04 km2), including 25.39 square miles (65.76 km2) of land and 0.49 square miles (1.27 km2) of water (1.90%). It is the largest municipality in Bergen County by area, more than 2½ times larger than the next-largest municipality, Paramus, and covering 10.6% of the total area of the entire county.
Inserra Supermarkets, a member of the ShopRite retail cooperative, operating approximately 22 stores. It is a family-owned business and is one of the 500 largest private companies in the United States.
Mahwah Mall, which is to be built at the site of the Sheraton Crossroads Hotel. Many Mahwah citizens were against the mall being built because the mall would cause high congestion, increased crime rate, and increased pollution, but the planning board approved the plan in January 2014 for a mall that would include 600,000 square feet (56,000 m2) of selling space.
Parks and recreation
Campgaw Mountain Reservation is a Bergen County accredited park, covering 1,351 acres (547 ha) in Mahwah and portions of Oakland, that has campgrounds and ski slopes for skiing.
Of the 9,505 households, 28.9% had children under the age of 18; 54.1% were married couples living together; 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present and 34.3% were non-families. Of all households, 30.1% were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.05.
19.8% of the population were under the age of 18, 16.2% from 18 to 24, 20.3% from 25 to 44, 29.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.4 years. For every 100 females, the population had 87.1 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 82.6 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $92,971 (with a margin of error of +/- $5,209) and the median family income was $107,977 (+/- $7,049). Males had a median income of $85,873 (+/- $6,728) versus $54,111 (+/- $3,935) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $53,375 (+/- $3,851). About 2.2% of families and 3.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.7% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.
There were 9,340 households, out of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.8% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the township the population was spread out, with 22.2% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 25.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.4 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $79,500, and the median income for a family was $94,484. Males had a median income of $62,326 versus $42,527 for females. The per capita income for the township was $44,709. About 1.2% of families and 2.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.8% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over.
Mahwah is governed within the Faulkner Act (formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law) under the Mayor-Council system of municipal government (Plan B), implemented by direct petition as of July 1, 1984. The township is one of 71 municipalities (of the 565) statewide that use this form of government. The governing body is comprised of the Mayor and the seven-member Township Council, with all members elected at-large to staggered four-year terms of office on a non-partisan basis as part of the November general election in even-numbered years. Four council seats are up for vote together and then three seats and the mayoral seat are up for vote together two years later. The legislative powers of the township are exercised by the Township Council. In September 2010, the township council voted to shift the township's non-partisan elections from May to November, citing increased voter participation and prospective savings of $30,000 associated with supporting each election, with the first November election taking place in 2012.
As of 2020[update], the Mayor of Mahwah is John Roth, who was elected to replace William Laforet and serve the balance of the term of office ending December 31, 2020. Mayor Roth was elected in November 2018 following a recall of the former mayor. Members of the Township Council are Council President David May (2020; elected to serve an unexpired term), Council Vice President George W. Ervin (2022), Janet Ariemma (2022), Robert M. Ferguson III (2022), Michelle Crowe Paz (2020; elected to serve an unexpired term), Jonathan Wong (2022) and James Wysocki (2020).
Then-Mayor Bill Laforet faced a recall election in November 2018, after a resident group submitted in June a list of 5,000 petition signatures that they had collected calling for the action, in excess of the 25% needed to place the measure in front of voters. In the November 2018 general election, Laforet was recalled from office and John Roth was elected mayor. The successful recall was the first in the county for at least 25 years.
Michelle Crowe Paz was appointed to fill the seat expiring in December 2020 that was vacated following the resignation of Steven Sbarra that became effective at the end of December 2017, and was elected in her own right in November 2018 to fill the unexpired term.
At the January 2017 reorganization meeting, David May was sworn in to fill the seat expiring in December 2020 that had been won by Jonathan Marcus in the November 2016 general election, but which Marcus decided not to accept; May was elected in his own right in the November 2017 general election, to serve the balance of the term.
In December 2016, the Township Council selected George Ervin to fill the seat that had been held by Mary Amoroso expiring in December 2018 that became vacant after she was elected the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders; Ervin served on an interim basis until the November 2017 general election, when voters elected him in his own right to fill the balance of the term. Ervin was re-elected in the November 2018 election to fill a full four-year term, expiring in 2022.
In August 1997, due to personal debt, then-Mayor David J. Dwork shot and killed himself in the town's mayoral offices. There were also unverified allegations of corruption. Dwork was memorialized with a tree dedicated to him at the site of the Mahwah Public Library. Dwork was succeeded by Richard J. Martel, then a township council member, who served for 14 years until his own death, of natural causes, on March 7, 2011. Martel himself was succeeded by Council President John DaPuzzo as acting mayor.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 15,168 registered voters in Mahwah Township, of which 3,410 (22.5% vs. 31.7% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 4,349 (28.7% vs. 21.1%) were registered as Republicans and 7,399 (48.8% vs. 47.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 10 voters registered to other parties. Among the township's 2010 Census population, 58.6% (vs. 57.1% in Bergen County) were registered to vote, including 73.1% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 73.7% countywide).
In the 2016 presidential election, Republican Donald Trump received 6,811 votes (52.6% vs. 41.1% countywide), ahead of Democrat Hillary Clinton with 5,623 votes (43.4% vs. 54.2%) and other candidates with 525 votes (4.1% vs. 4.6%), among the 13,108 ballots cast by the township's 17,408 registered voters, for a turnout of 75.3% (vs. 72.5% in Bergen County). In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 6,862 votes (56.2% vs. 43.5% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 5,143 votes (42.1% vs. 54.8%) and other candidates with 99 votes (0.8% vs. 0.9%), among the 12,203 ballots cast by the township's 16,357 registered voters, for a turnout of 74.6% (vs. 70.4% in Bergen County). In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 6,768 votes (54.3% vs. 44.5% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 5,501 votes (44.2% vs. 53.9%) and other candidates with 100 votes (0.8% vs. 0.8%), among the 12,457 ballots cast by the township's 15,705 registered voters, for a turnout of 79.3% (vs. 76.8% in Bergen County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 6,829 votes (58.1% vs. 47.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 4,829 votes (41.1% vs. 51.7%) and other candidates with 67 votes (0.6% vs. 0.7%), among the 11,758 ballots cast by the township's 14,759 registered voters, for a turnout of 79.7% (vs. 76.9% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 70.4% of the vote (5,115 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 28.5% (2,070 votes), and other candidates with 1.1% (79 votes), among the 7,391 ballots cast by the township's 15,601 registered voters (127 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 47.4%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 4,602 votes (57.4% vs. 45.8% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 2,942 votes (36.7% vs. 48.0%), Independent Chris Daggett with 404 votes (5.0% vs. 4.7%) and other candidates with 34 votes (0.4% vs. 0.5%), among the 8,018 ballots cast by the township's 15,479 registered voters, yielding a 51.8% turnout (vs. 50.0% in the county).
In the 2016 presidential election, Republican Donald Trump received 53.5% of the vote for a total of 6,366 votes ahead of Democrat Hillary Clinton, who received 42.5% of the vote for a total of 5,049 votes. Other 3rd party candidates received a collective vote of 372, accounting for the remaining 3.1% 
The district's newest building, Lenape Meadows, was opened in 2002 and changed the way the district divided up grade levels. Since the K-3 grades are broken up by location in the township which determines the elementary school to attend, before Lenape Meadows was built, students of that section of town attended Commodore Perry School. Commodore Perry School, Betsy Ross, and George Washington originally only housed the K-2 grades and the entire 3rd grade class attended Joyce Kilmer. The construction of Lenape Meadows added enough room for 3rd grade students as well, allowing Betsy Ross and George Washington room to house their students for 3rd grade, too.
As of May 2010[update], the township had a total of 110.29 miles (177.49 km) of roadways, of which 81.91 miles (131.82 km) were maintained by the municipality, 20.59 miles (33.14 km) by Bergen County and 7.79 miles (12.54 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Interstate 287 heads north from Franklin Lakes, continuing for 5.3 miles (8.5 km) to the New York State border. U.S. Route 202 heads north for 5.7 miles (9.2 km), running from Oakland to the New York State border.
Route 17 extends 2.5 miles (4.0 km) from Ramsey until it forms a concurrency where it merges with Interstate 287. County Route 507 runs 2.0 miles (3.2 km) across the northeastern portion of the township, from Ramsey to an intersection with U.S. Route 202 near the state line.
^Mahwah High School Mission Statement, Mahwah High School. Accessed June 23, 2012. "The Leni Lenape Indians called it Mawewi -- the meeting place of rivers and paths -- and though its modern name, Mahwah, is slightly different, it is as appropriate today as it was in 1700, when the first white settler, Blandina Bayard, established a trading post there."
^Bergen County New Jersey Municipalities, Dutch Door Genealogy. Accessed October 16, 2007. "Mahwah Township was incorporated November 15, 1944 (referendum November 7, 1944) replacing Hohokus Township."
^[Sikorsky, Kate. The Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant, Mahwah, NJ, Mahwah Museum. Accessed October 3, 2019. "The Ford Motor Company operated an assembly plant in Mahwah from 1955 to 1980. At the time of its completion, it was the largest motor vehicle assembly plant in the United States. The Ford Plant, along with other businesses, such as, American Brake Shoe and Foundry Company, helped contribute to the economic development of the town of Mahwah."
^Nobile, Tom. "Mahwah walks back controversial eruv and parks bans", The Record, December 15, 2017. Accessed October 3, 2019. "The council introduced an ordinance Thursday that would do away with a ban on non-state residents in township parks and replace it with language that states Mahwah's parks and playgrounds may be used by 'residents and non-residents alike.' The council also approved a separate resolution disavowing a proposed law that would have prohibited the posting of devices or 'other matter,' such as the white PVC pipes used to denote a Jewish boundary known as an eruv, on utility poles. That ordinance was introduced but never adopted."
^Company Overview, Radwin. Accessed December 19, 2013. "RADWIN's North America team headquartered in Mahwah, NJ is a division of RAD Group, Israel's largest telecommunications group is a leading global provider of wireless Point-to-Point and Point-to-MultiPoint solutions in the sub-6GHz space."
^Sharp USA facilities, Sharp Corporation. Accessed March 19, 2008. "Sharp Electronics Corporation (SEC) is the U.S. sales and marketing subsidiary of Japan's Sharp Corporation. SEC was established in the U.S. marketplace in 1962 and today the company's 500,000 sq ft (46,000 m2). headquarters is located in Mahwah, New Jersey."
^Pries. Allison. "Mahwah municipal elections moving to November in 2012", The Record, September 24, 2010. Accessed December 10, 2013. "The Township will hold its non-partisan municipal elections in November beginning in 2012, according to an ordinance passed this week.The council voted 4-3 on Thursday to move the voting for mayor and council terms from the second Tuesday in May to the November general election date."
^Stoltz, Marsha A. "Mahwah swears in new mayor following recall of William Laforet", The Record, November 20, 2018. Accessed October 3, 2019. "Former council President John Roth was sworn in as mayor of the county's largest municipality in a Tuesday morning ceremony shortly after he was certified winner of the Nov. 6 mayoral race, which also recalled the previous mayor.... Roth was elected mayor to succeed William Laforet, 5,015 to 3,995, on the same ballot the former mayor was recalled by a vote of 4,968 to 4,628.... Roth will serve out the remainder of Laforet's term, which ends in 2020."
^Burrow, Megan. "Recall effort against Mahwah Mayor William Laforet moves forward", The Record, July 13, 2018. Accessed July 25, 2018. "The effort to recall Mayor William Laforet will proceed with a vote in November, unless the mayor attempts a legal challenge. Township Clerk Kathrine Coviello has ratified enough of the 5,000 signatures that were filed last month seeking a recall vote. The Committee to Recall Mayor William Laforet needed 25 percent of the township's registered voters, or 4,170 signatures, to place the question on the ballot in November."
^Nobile, Tom; and Stoltz, Marsha. "Mahwah Mayor Bill Laforet recalled from office", The Record, November 6, 2018. Accessed November 7, 2018. "Mayor Bill Laforet was recalled from office, candidates confirmed Tuesday night.... Barring a surge of mail-in ballots in Laforet's favor, the mayor will become the first public official in Bergen County to be recalled in at least 25 years. On the same ballot, residents also voted for a new mayor: John Roth, a former councilman who challenged Laforet for mayor in 2016."
^Nobile, Tom. "Mahwah walks back controversial eruv and parks bans", The Record, December 15, 2017. Accessed July 25, 2018. "Hermansen on Thursday also announced that Sbarra will resign from his position at the end of the year for 'personal reasons.' The council will have 30 days to appoint a new member once the seat becomes vacant."
^Nobile, Tom. "Two newcomers join Mahwah Council", The Record, January 5, 2017. Accessed April 27, 2017. "Shortly after, council members appointed David May by a 5-0 vote with one abstention to fill the council seat left empty by Jonathan Marcus.... Marcus won election to the council in November, but declined the seat less than a month later, citing personal reasons."
^Nobile, Tom. "Mahwah council appoints newcomer to vacancy", The Record, December 16, 2016. Accessed December 16, 2017. "The Township Council voted Thursday night to appoint council newcomer George Ervin to fill the council seat vacated by Freeholder-elect Mary Amoroso.... Ervin was sworn in immediately following the vote and assumed his seat on the dais. He will sit on the council through the end of 2017."
^Smothers, Ronald. "Debt Drove A Mayor To Suicide, Widow Says", The New York Times, August 26, 1997. Accessed December 10, 2013. "Deep personal financial debt led the Mayor of Mahwah, N.J., David J. Dwork, to commit suicide in his township office on the night of Aug. 18, his widow, Johanna, said at a weekend memorial service."
^Pries, Allison; and Shilling, Erik. "Saddened Mahwah swears in new mayor", The Record, March 10, 2011. Accessed April 11, 2012. "The Township Council appointed its president, John DaPuzzo, as the new mayor on Wednesday, two days after the death of longtime Mayor Richard Martel."
^Biography, Congressman Josh Gottheimer. Accessed January 3, 2019. "Josh now lives in Wyckoff, New Jersey with Marla, his wife who was a federal prosecutor, and their two young children, Ellie and Ben."
^Mahwah Board of Education District Policy 0110 - Identification, Mahwah Township Public Schools. Accessed March 24, 2020. "Purpose: The Board of Education exists for the purpose of providing a thorough and efficient system of free public education in grades Pre-K through 12 in the Mahwah Township Public School District. Composition: The Mahwah Township Public School District is comprised of all the area within the municipal boundaries of Mahwah Township."
^Camp Glen Gray. Accessed December 19, 2011. "Here also was the home of civil libertarians Evelyn Preston and her husband Roger Nash Baldwin (1884-1981). Baldwin was the founder and head of the American Civil Liberties Union."
^Maull, Samuel. "Foxy Brown Sentenced to a Year in Jail", The Washington Post, February 7, 2007. Accessed April 12, 2008. "The judge found Brown had left the state without permission; had moved her residence from Brooklyn to Mahwah, N.J., without permission; had failed to notify the department of an arrest in Mahwah; had failed to report to probation officers, and had dropped court-ordered anger management sessions with a psychologist."
^Shalin, Mike. "Frank Chamberlin", Boston Herald, August 23, 1997. Accessed March 31, 2011. "When Frank Chamberlin left Mahwah, N.J., for Boston College, he was a linebacker expecting to play for Dan Henning. He had no way of knowing a gambling scandal would rock the school during his first year."
^Sturken, Barbara. "Off the Field, Giants Call New Jersey Home", The New York Times, March 31, 1991. Accessed April 11, 2012. "This year's group includes Leonard Marshall, defensive end, who lives in Mahwah and is finishing an undergraduate degree in finance that he started at Louisiana State University; Perry Williams, defensive back, who lives in Passaic and is earning a master's in public administration, and John Washington, defensive lineman, who is at work on an M.B.A. "
^Staff. "Reutershan hurt in 2-car wreck", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 2, 1981. Accessed December 10, 2013. "Reutershan, who went to Pitt from his home town of Mahwah, N.J., and now lives at 6350 Forward Ave. in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill section, was seriously injured in November 1978 when his car ripped through a guardrail on state Route 519 in South Fayette Township and snapped a utility pole."
^Strauss, Michael. "New Jersey Sports; En Garde! Touchez!", The New York Times, April 3, 1973. Accessed July 25, 2018. "As a result of his efforts and those of other fencing enthusiasts such as Evelyn Terhune of Mahwah, Irwin Bernstein of Westfield and Denise O'Connor of Bayonne--all top regional competitors--New Jersey now has a large number of devotees."