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Throwback Thursday: Councilman Anselmo Millan's Legacy of Innovation

Jan 25, 2024
Councilman Anselmo Millan with Harrison NJ Snowmelter in background

Recent winters have been mild compared to winters in the 1990s. Let's take a trip back to 1995 and recall a significant transformation in the Town of Harrison's approach to snow management, all thanks to the visionary efforts of former Councilman Anselmo Millan.

Back in 1995, Councilman Millan, then Chairman of the Department of Public Works (DPW), led an innovative move by introducing the first mobile Snow Melting Machine in the State of New Jersey. This wasn't just any snow removal tool; it mirrored the technology used at Newark Liberty International Airport. While the airport's machine was fixed underground, Harrison's model had a unique twist – it was mobile, attached to a truck, making it adept for the town’s compact streets.

This machine worked magic on Harrison’s snow-laden roads. A payloader would lift snow into the machine's hopper, where it was efficiently melted into water. This method revolutionized snow removal in Harrison, making the process quicker and more environmentally sound.

The financial benefits were substantial. The snow melter saved Harrison hundreds of thousands of dollars in truck carting charges, a much-needed relief for a town where efficient snow removal is not just a convenience but a necessity due to limited parking availability.

But the story of this snow melter doesn't end in Harrison. After serving the town, the snow melter was sold at auction. However, its legacy continued as it inspired the Town of West New York, which followed in Harrison's footsteps and purchased its snow-melting machine, still operational today. The Town of Harrison no longer has a snowmelter.

The utility of Harrison’s snow melter extended beyond its streets. Once Harrison's roads were cleared, the machine was rented out to the neighboring Town of Kearny. This not only showcased inter-town cooperation but also provided an additional revenue stream for Harrison, with the Department of Public Works being reimbursed for the rental and supervision provided by its employees.

Councilman Millan's foresight didn’t just change how Harrison dealt with snow; it set a benchmark for neighboring communities, demonstrating the power of innovative thinking in local governance. His initiative not only improved the immediate quality of life for Harrison’s residents but also sowed the seeds for a regional approach to efficient snow management.

As we celebrate this Throwback Thursday, we honor the ingenuity and leadership of former Councilman Anselmo Millan. His initiative remains a shining example of how a single decision can have a ripple effect, benefiting not just one town but an entire region. It's a reminder that in the face of challenges, innovative solutions can lead to lasting and impactful change.

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