October 19, 2016
Dear Summit Residents,
Fall always feels like a beginning to me, and Summit is off to a good start. School is in full swing, our downtown beautification project is almost finished, and work will finally resume on the Morris Avenue bridge. It is a good time for an update.
As Mayor, my two major priorities continue to be community connection and engagement. At my office hours in City Hall, I have spoken with many of you, listened to your concerns and connected you to resources. At my “Meet the Mayor” events on weekends, I have chatted with people of all ages, shared stories and learned about your experiences as residents of Summit. I hope you will also take a moment to stop by during my office hours at City Hall, attend a “Meet the Mayor” event, or stop me when you see me in town.
Technology has made it even easier to connect and engage. See-Click-Fix, Nextdoor, and coUrbanize have all gotten traction as effective ways to report problems, share resources, and brainstorm about our joint vision for our city. See-Click-Fix can be found through the “Report a Concern” link on the City’s website. It quickly lets the appropriate city department know about issues with city services, safety, or infrastructure. Nextdoor.com connects you with your neighbors to share information, get referrals for tradespeople or services, and keep abreast of neighborhood happenings. I encourage you to sign up, I have found it very useful. As part of our master planning process, we utilized coUrbanize, an interactive tool that generated over 500 comments and ideas about our priorities for our city, including over 100 requests for additional sidewalks!
Connection has an added benefit: tapping into the strong human capital we have here in town. It benefits everyone when we share our talents with our neighbors, and when we identify and engage our neighbors to share theirs with us. Currently, the city has openings on an array of volunteer boards and committees, all of which have an impact. Go to the city website and check out the list--there is a downloadable application, and I encourage all qualified residents to apply. I would be delighted to talk to you about how to get involved. Our first meeting for appointments is November 10, so if you are interested, please take a look at the list today.
In addition, I continue to prioritize thinking creatively about our downtown, in order to keep it accessible, attractive and vital. You probably noticed the re-milling and repaving that took place this summer. But you may not know that while the roads were open we used the opportunity to lay conduit which will eventually carry fiber optic cable, providing gigabyte super-high-speed internet access to our entire downtown. This cutting-edge amenity will make Summit an even greater draw to the business sector--particularly tech, financial, and consulting firms.
And finally, I am always searching for innovative responses to old problems—if you have any ideas, please share them with me. I am particularly proud of our Ridesharing pilot program with Uber, the first of its kind in the country, which was the brainchild of Michael Rogers, our City Administrator. A weekday ride to or from the train station during commuting hours is free for parking permit holders. We have talked about our downtown parking problem for decades; here is an approach that allows us to use the spaces we already have sensibly and at no extra cost to us, rather than spending millions of taxpayer dollars on yet another garage. There is currently a wait list; if you are interested in participating, please visit the Uber website.
It is a privilege to be your Mayor, and even more of a privilege to share City Hall with our high-caliber professional staff, police, and fire personnel. I work with them closely every day, and I cannot over-emphasize the extent of their contributions to your quality of life. None of the achievements I talked about above would have been possible without them.
I wish you all the best in the coming months. Please, reach out to me—I would love to hear from you, both about what is working for you here in Summit, and what is not. If you cannot visit during my office hours, (Monday from 6-7:30PM; Wednesday and Thursday from 9-11AM) send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 908-277-9420.
See you around town,