Several Butler Arch Street residents, volunteers, Lenape Tribe members and the Passaic River Coalition (PRC) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sunday to celebrate the transfer of a parcel of land behind Arch Street and along the river from Butler to the PRC, where a public access path to the river will be developed. A small park at the entrance received the Lenape name "Yapewi" (pronounced Ja-pew-i) in recognition of the original inhabitants of the area.
Resident Sherry Bednarz-Mosier has led this effort on Arch Street for many years. She invited Lehman Mann, a Lenapi Tribe member known as "Silent Timber" in his native tongue, to help choose the park's name. PRC Executive Director Ella Filippone was pleased, saying this brings back a tradition that has long been called for.
"We are going to make this a really authentic demonstration," Filippone said. "I hope this is the first of many that will remember the heritage that was here long before the British and the Dutch came to these shores."
The PRC will meet Wednesday at its headquarters in Morristown to start planning an environmentally sensitive design that will take safety factors and easy maintenance into consideration.