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Roselle is a borough located in Union County in the state of New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 21,085, reflecting a decline of 189 (-0.9%) from the 21,274 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 960 (+4.7%) from the 20,314 counted in the 1990 Census.
On January 19, 1883, the world's first electric lighting system employing overhead wires began service in Roselle, and was built by Thomas Edison to demonstrate that an entire community could be lit by electricity. The First Presbyterian Church, located on the corner of West 5th Avenue and Chestnut Street, was the first church in the United States to be lit by electricity, and the second in the world after the City Temple church in London.
Roselle was incorporated on December 20, 1894, at the height of the Boroughitis phenomenon sweeping through New Jersey at the time, based on the results of a referendum held two days earlier, from portions of Linden. Roselle's name is derived from the Roselle Land Improvement Company, which was created in 1866 to lay out a community around the Mulford Station on the Central Railroad of New Jersey. The name "Roselle" is said to have been based on the company's founder, John Conklin Rose or from John Pierre Roselle, a friend of the railroad's president.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 2.664 square miles (6.899 km2), including 2.651 square miles (6.866 km2) of land and 0.013 square miles (0.033 km2) of water (0.47%),
Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the borough include Aldene.
The borough is bordered by Roselle Park to the north, Linden to the south and Cranford to the west and Elizabeth, along the edges of Warinanco Park, to the east. Morses Creek runs through the town.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 21,085 people, 7,407 households, and 5,096 families residing in the borough. The population density was 7,953.5 per square mile (3,070.9/km2). There were 7,939 housing units at an average density of 2,994.7 per square mile (1,156.3/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 29.59% (6,240) White, 55.06% (11,610) Black or African American, 0.31% (65) Native American, 2.23% (471) Asian, 0.02% (5) Pacific Islander, 9.63% (2,030) from other races, and 3.15% (664) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 26.77% (5,644) of the population.
There were 7,407 households out of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.0% were married couples living together, 19.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.2% were non-families. 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.44.
In the borough, the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 26.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.0 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 85.6 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $58,041 (with a margin of error of +/- $3,948) and the median family income was $64,038 (+/- $4,495). Males had a median income of $40,163 (+/- $3,874) versus $36,210 (+/- $1,612) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $25,678 (+/- $1,130). About 7.5% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.9% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 21,274 people, 7,520 households, and 5,226 families residing in the borough. The population density was 8,048.8 people per square mile (3,111.3/km2). There were 7,870 housing units at an average density of 2,977.5 per square mile (1,151.0/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 51.32% African American,35.58% White, 0.31% Native American, 2.71% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 6.07% from other races, and 3.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.11% of the population.
8.0% of the population of Roselle (Creole: Wozel) was of Haitian ancestry. This was the third-highest such percentage in New Jersey and the 16th-highest of any municipality in the nation.
There were 7,520 households out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.3% were married couples living together, 18.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.5% were non-families. 25.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82 and the average family size was 3.41.
In the borough the population was spread out with 25.5% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.8 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $51,254, and the median income for a family was $58,841. Males had a median income of $37,604 versus $32,535 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $21,269. About 5.8% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.5% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.
Portions of Roselle are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3½% sales tax rate at eligible merchants (versus the 7% rate charged statewide).
Roselle is incorporated under the Borough system of municipal government. The governing body is made up of the mayor and the six-member Borough Council. The mayor and council represent the borough at-large and are elected by the entire borough. The remaining five council members are elected from five wards, one from each ward in which the member resides, with Roselle being one of only two boroughs statewide that use wards (the other is Roselle Park). The Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year. The Borough form of government used by Roselle, the most common system used in the state, is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council. A borough administrator, appointed by the Borough Council, tends to the day-to-day operations of the municipal government.
As of 2018, the Mayor of the Borough of Roselle is Democrat Christine Dansereau, elected to serve a term of office that expires on December 31, 2019. Members of the Roselle Borough Council are Council President Reginald Atkins (Council-at-Large; D, 2019), Samuel Bishop (Ward 5; D, 2018), Cynthia Johnson (Ward 3; D, 2020), Kim Shaw (Ward 4; D, 2019) and Carla L. Walker (Ward 2; D, 2018) and Denise Wilkerson (Ward 1; D, 2020).
Council President Kim Shaw was named to serve as acting mayor in March 2015, after Jamel Holley was named to fill a vacant seat in the New Jersey General Assembly. She served until Dansereau was sworn in on March 11, 2015, making her the first woman to serve as mayor in borough history.
In April 2015, the Borough Council, based on nominations submitted by the Democratic municipal committee, chose Samuel Bishop to fill the vacant seat in the 5th Ward of Roy Locke, while Reginald W. Atkins was chosen to fill the at-large seat vacated by Christine Dansereau when she was sworn in as mayor. Locke had resigned from office in February 2015, under pressure from then-mayor Jamal Holley who cited Locke's frequent absences from council meetings, which Locke attributed to conflicting work and personal responsibilities.
Roselle is located in the 10th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 20th state legislative district.
New Jersey's Tenth Congressional District is represented by Donald Payne Jr. (D, Newark). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, 2019).
For the 2018–2019 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 20th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Joseph Cryan (D, Union Township, Union County) and in the General Assembly by Jamel Holley (D, Roselle) and Annette Quijano (D, Elizabeth). The Governor of New Jersey is Phil Murphy (D, Middletown Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Sheila Oliver (D, East Orange).
Union County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose nine members are elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis with three seats coming up for election each year, with an appointed County Manager overseeing the day-to-day operations of the county. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects a Chairman and Vice Chairman from among its members. As of 2014, Union County's Freeholders are Chairman Christopher Hudak (D, Linden, term ends December 31, 2014), Vice Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh (D, Roselle, 2015), Bruce Bergen (D, Springfield Township, 2015), Linda Carter (D, Plainfield, 2016), Angel G. Estrada (D, Elizabeth, 2014), Sergio Granados (D, Elizabeth, 2016) Bette Jane Kowalski (D, Cranford, 2016), Alexander Mirabella (D, Fanwood, 2015) and Vernell Wright (D, Union, 2014). Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi (D, Union, 2015), Sheriff Ralph Froehlich (D, Union, 2016) and Surrogate James S. LaCorte (D, Springfield Township, 2014). The County Manager is Alfred Faella.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 11,743 registered voters in Roselle, of which 7,127 (60.7% vs. 41.8% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 526 (4.5% vs. 15.3%) were registered as Republicans and 4,087 (34.8% vs. 42.9%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 3 voters registered to other parties. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 55.7% (vs. 53.3% in Union County) were registered to vote, including 72.8% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 70.6% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 8,034 votes (88.8% vs. 66.0% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 875 votes (9.7% vs. 32.3%) and other candidates with 53 votes (0.6% vs. 0.8%), among the 9,043 ballots cast by the borough's 12,694 registered voters, for a turnout of 71.2% (vs. 68.8% in Union County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 8,055 votes (85.4% vs. 63.1% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 1,262 votes (13.4% vs. 35.2%) and other candidates with 52 votes (0.6% vs. 0.9%), among the 9,428 ballots cast by the borough's 12,533 registered voters, for a turnout of 75.2% (vs. 74.7% in Union County). In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 6,325 votes (79.4% vs. 58.3% countywide), ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 1,564 votes (19.6% vs. 40.3%) and other candidates with 40 votes (0.5% vs. 0.7%), among the 7,971 ballots cast by the borough's 11,609 registered voters, for a turnout of 68.7% (vs. 72.3% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 71.3% of the vote (2,882 cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 27.6% (1,115 votes), and other candidates with 1.1% (44 votes), among the 4,283 ballots cast by the borough's 12,460 registered voters (242 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 34.4%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 3,816 ballots cast (77.3% vs. 50.6% countywide), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 866 votes (17.5% vs. 41.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 170 votes (3.4% vs. 5.9%) and other candidates with 35 votes (0.7% vs. 0.8%), among the 4,939 ballots cast by the borough's 12,148 registered voters, yielding a 40.7% turnout (vs. 46.5% in the county).
Students are educated by the Roselle Public Schools, which serves students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2012-13 school year, the district's eight schools had an enrollment of 2,677 students and 245.4 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 10.91:1. Schools in the district (with 2012-13 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Roselle Presechool (78 students in PreK), Kindergarten Success Academy (190; Kindergarten), Harrison Elementary School (311; 1-4), Dr. Charles C. Polk Elementary School (300; 1-4), Washington Elementary School (280; 1-4), Leonard V. Moore Middle School for grades 5-6 (405), Grace Wilday Junior High School for grades 7-8 (365) and Abraham Clark High School for grades 9-12 (741).
Roselle Catholic High School, a parochial high school run by the Marist Brothers, serves grades 9-12 under the supervision of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark.
St. Joseph the Carpenter School, which was founded in 1913, serves students in preschool through eighth grade, operating under the supervision of the Newark Archdiocese.
As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 49.96 miles (80.40 km) of roadways, of which 40.32 miles (64.89 km) were maintained by the municipality, 8.60 miles (13.84 km) by Union County and 1.04 miles (1.67 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
NJ Transit provides bus service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City on the 112 and 115 routes, to Newark on the 59, 62 and 94 routes, with local service available on the 56 and 57.
Conrail's freight-only Lehigh Line passes through the community along the tracks of the former Lehigh Valley Railroad. The town once shared a passenger station with Roselle Park on the mainline of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. That line is abandoned.
The Staten Island Railway passed through the community before being dormant for years. It was reactivated by the Morristown & Erie Railway, but Morristown & Erie did not renew their option and their 10-year lease ceased as of May 15, 2012.
Newark Liberty International Airport is approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) from Roselle.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Roselle include:
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