Friends of Waterloo Village hold annual meeting

| 15 Feb 2012 | 11:20

Organization celebrates successes and announces plans for the future STANHOPE — Although the day was bitter cold, and the museum building unheated, Friends of Waterloo Village (FOWV) held their annual meeting on Saturday, Jan. 14, in high spirits. The organization's mission is to save and restore the historic village located in Stanhope. The well-attended event was designed to review the successes of the past year, recognize the people and businesses that helped make the year a success, and unveil plans for the future. “I am thrilled with the turnout today," said Freeholder Susan Zellman, who has been involved with the organization since its inception. "The warmth is radiating from the people in the room, it really shows the enthusiasm that people have for the cause.” Zellman's primary responsibility with the organization is raising funds to restore buildings on the village property. She confirmed that membership in FOWV has increased in 2011. The meeting was also the launching point for the 2012 membership drive. Byram Mayor and FOWV board member James Oscovitch, said “It was good to see so many new people here and it is great to see representatives from the state, Canal Society, Winakung and the church. Last year was a success but there is still a big need for volunteers and funds. In 2012 I hope to see more awareness, increased use of the park and restoration projects move forward or even finished.” Dr. Raymond Frey, a professor of history at Centenary College and the 2009 recipient of the Governor’s Award for Achievement in History, spoke to the volunteers about the historical significance of Waterloo Village, including its then-engineering marvels of a lock and inclined plane. "This section of the Morris Canal is probably the best preserved section in the state,” said Dr. Frey. “This place is a historical gem.” One of the biggest successes for Friends of Waterloo Village was collaborating with the many entities that have an interest in the site, including the Natural Resources Division of the NJDEP, the NJ Division of Parks and Forestry, the Waterloo United Methodist Church, the Canal Society of New Jersey and Winakung at Waterloo, Inc., a non-profit corporation that gives educational tours of the village. Cradic of the NJDEP said the state has an interest in maintaining sustainable parks throughout NJ and praised the village as a place for events as well as its historical significance. John Trontis from NJ Division of Parks and Forestry, a frequent visitor of Waterloo, said he was “amazed at the amount of volunteers who have come out to help the cause” and noted that many had visited Waterloo as children and wanted to see it returned to the place they fell in love with as kids. Andrea Proctor, founder of Winakung at Waterloo, Inc., was able to begin tours for schools and bring the public back to the site. "We started small by accepting groups of 50 and later 100 people per day and as a result we contributed $5,486 to Waterloo Village in 2011." Proctor also reported that her staff contributed over 4,000 hours of volunteer work at the village. Pastor Tim Nicinski from Waterloo United Methodist Church has and will continue to conduct services and provide outreach to the community. Brian Morrell from the Canal Society of New Jersey was thrilled to see the children who visited in 2011 “turned on to history.” The highlights of 2011 for Friends of Waterloo Village were the music festival and the Harvest Moon festival which brought in a combined $7,000. Byram councilwoman and past chairman of FOWV, Marie Raffay, reiterated that there is still a lot of work to be done. In 2012 FOWV hopes to raise money by running the music and Harvest Moon festivals again, as well as holding a speaking event with an expert on Abraham Lincoln to discuss Waterloo Village and it’s importance during the Civil War. FOWV hopes to increase membership and raise additional funds so that the restoration of the buildings at the site can continue. Still needed are the roofs on the gristmill and the blacksmith shop. Everyone was reminded that the money donated to FOWV is used for the preservation of Waterloo Village and is not put into state coffers. For more information on Friends of Waterloo Village, how do donate, or to become a volunteer, visit