• This Is Rutherford

This is Steve Addeo

By Jennifer Ersalesi

Photo credit: Jennifer Mazone

Born and raised in Rutherford, Steve Addeo is proud of where he grew up, where he lives, and where he raised his family. Steve has an eye for beauty and landscaping design and he has used his expertise to bring colorful, new life to the main streets and parks of Rutherford. This is Rutherford spoke to Steve about his unique career path, how he has already beautified the town and will continue to do so.

Area in front of the Leprechaun Store on Park Ave

TIR: How long have you lived in Rutherford?

Steve Addeo: I am 58 years old and have been a lifelong resident of Rutherford. I have been married to Carmen for 28 years and have 2 children, Stephanie and Alexander, who of course grew up and went through our school system in Rutherford. They both now have careers and are living on their own in other States.


TIR: What do you like about living in Rutherford?

SA: What's not to like? I love the small town, close community feel of Rutherford. I have so many friends from my childhood and throughout my life here. Being here for so many years, I am blessed to know so many residents and have developed friendly relationships with all of them. The downtown area with its great restaurants and shops is one of the best in Bergen County. We have the most dedicated EMTs, Firemen, Policemen who enable us to feel very safe under their watch. The Department of Public Works always does a great job keeping our town clean and running efficiently.

Photos above: Borough Hall beautification project with flowers, a new flag pole, self-watering planters, and a Linden tree dedicated to Marianne Coston.


TIR: What is your profession?

SA: My profession is a bit unusual. I went to college for Music education at Jersey City State and William Paterson University and was a professional musician for 40 years. In 1989, in addition to my music job I started working for a wholesale landscaping supply company in Clifton as a yard worker. During that time I was fortunate enough to be sent to Rutgers University where I studied and acquired several certifications in horticulture, plant and tree identification, and acquired the New Jersey Tree Expert license, (NJLTE). Before long I was traveling around the States touring nursery stock growers and purchasing plants and trees for the company and working with a staff of salespeople who resold them to garden centers, golf courses, municipalities, and landscapers. I worked there until 2017 when I was offered an opportunity to interview for the position of Supervisor of Parks and Grounds Maintenance. I was awarded that position and now nearing the end of my 4th year. This position is very diverse and I love being busy and working outdoors.

Photos above: Self-watering planters outside of Substance Salon on Park Ave. Bulbs in the center are removed at the end of the season and stored until they can be replanted.

Self-watering planter in front of Jim Dandy's

TIR: You are responsible for the design and layout of most of the floral beautification projects throughout town, including those around Borough Hall, the front of the Library, Sunset Park, etc. Where do you get your inspiration for these projects?

SA: It goes back to my time traveling and visiting the nurseries throughout different cities in the US especially, Oregon and California, and seeing all the gorgeous hanging baskets and beautiful planting beds, full of color up and down their downtown areas. It was just so amazing. The visual was cool and so colorful it made me think one day I would love to bring this concept to Rutherford. Whether you are a resident or just visiting, I love that these plantings bring a smile to everyone's faces and make the stroll up Park Ave and the West End interesting.

Photos above: Entrance to Memorial Park. Photo credit: Charlotte Ersalesi


TIR: Have you always enjoyed this type of landscaping and design?

SA: Yes, always...To assist with my designs I use a complex, professional landscape design software system that enables me to do visual renderings of actual landscape designs. I have been doing this for over 30 years working with landscapers and landscape architects. The software uses actual plant renderings giving homeowners a complete picture of the finished design. I love to see the process from the software design to the actual completion of the planting.

Photos above: Flowers and bushes planted on the Park Ave side of the Rutherford Public Library. This area is a Butterfly Garden with flowers that attract butterflies.


Tony Ugliarolo (Rutherford Music Exchange) and Steve Addeo beside a self-watering planter.

TIR: Why do you think it is important to include these beautification projects throughout town?

SA: It's so important because when traveling through different towns, seeing beautiful plantings, flower-filled pots, and lots of colors, I say to myself, “Now here is a town that cares, supports, and takes the time to beautify its streets.” I have numerous appreciative residents come up to me while working on these projects to express their joy and happiness to see such beautiful plants and to me, that's why I enjoy doing it.

TIR: Can you tell us about the new design in front of the Rutherford Public Library?

SA: There are several large projects we will be working on throughout the town. The library pocket park was one that we have been wanting to do first because it is in such a visual location. I presented a landscape design rendering to Mayor Nunziato, the Borough Council, and to the DPW Superintendent Chris Seidler for approval and am happy to say we were approved. The concept for this design is to create a small patio with sitting walls on each side, install several self-watering planters filled with colorful annual flowers, install updated benches and landscape lighting to highlight the stone columns. The plantings on the sides of the patio are a mix of flowering shrubs, perennials, and annuals for year-round interest. The mulch was replaced with river stone for a cleaner look and we left the center spot open for our annual Christmas tree and the tree-lighting celebration. The idea behind this design was to have a comfortable spot for people to sit and read, hold a children's reading session, have lunch, or just sit, relax and admire the views in the surrounding area.


Union Ave with self-watering planters and Blue Lyme grass.

TIR: Which projects are you currently working on throughout town?

SA: Right now we are talking about re-landscaping some of the islands and the circle island by the train station. One of the islands was just recently updated with a mass planting of Blue Lyme grass and flanked by 2 self-watering planters with lots of seasonal colors. Sunset Park is also another project that is being slated for some upgrades and beautification.

9/11 Memorial in Lincoln Park

TIR: What else do you envision for the beautification of the town?

SA: I am a member of the Rutherford Shade Tree Commission and we are talking about a new tree design for both sides of Park Ave. Last year we installed large, self-watering

planters down at the west end of town filled with flowering Crepe Myrtle trees and annual flowers. There was limited planting space along the sidewalks and the area was in desperate need of beautification. They are doing well and are a nice addition.


Photos below: Self-watering planters with Crepe Myrtle trees and annual flowers on Union Ave (the West End). Photo credit: Charlotte Ersalesi



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