In apparent response to the issue being raised by Roselle Park News, Mayor Joseph Accardi stated during the January 17, 2013 Mayor & Council meeting that he will begin to review the 10-point plan – entitled “My Vision For Roselle Park” – on point-by-point basis each month for the rest of the year.
In the introduction, Mr. Accardi stated that he was offering his vision as ”a starting point to head in a new and better direction”. Additionally, the then mayoral candidate asked residents to use his plan as his report card – as a means to gauge his efforts and performance over his four-year term.
The plan, that was part of Mr. Accardi’s 2010 mayoral campaign, has 10 points with four sub-sections for each point. As a complement to the mayor’s review, Roselle Park News will independently assess each point by referencing ordinances, resolutions, public statements, invoices, memos, and other pertinent material.
Below is a re-print of the Mayor Accardi’s 10 points for review. The four sub-sections will be included in each individual review.
- Revitalizing Our Downtown
We have taken the initial steps toward revitalizing our downtown during my first term as second ward councilman – we have hired a consultant to advise on better ways to “sell” our community to businesses, and we have employed a land use planner to provide input on how best to develop what is currently available and provide input on what our downtown can be. Our work is just starting. It is important that we recognize where we have been, but essential that we concentrate on where we are going. We cannot change the past, only work toward the future.
- Creating A Gateway In Roselle Park
We are in an ideal location for growth. Our access to a major train line, proximity to the Garden State Parkway, and closeness to Newark Liberty International Airport, within striking distance of major employment hubs in New York City, Hudson County (i.e.: Jersey City, Hoboken), Newark, and the Parsippany/Berkeley Heights technical corridor should make Roselle Park a major draw. Tying all aspects of our location together will provide a gateway that will attract professionals to our community as residents.
- Taxes, Taxes, Taxes
The biggest complaint expressed by young and old property owners alike is the heavy tax burden borne by everyone. We have already begun reviewing line items for the upcoming tax year, but we must find alternative ways of holding the line. With declining State revenues, we must be proactive in seeking a tax stabilization plan that allows our community to maintain service without increasing the burden on taxpayers.
- Train Station
The Roselle Park Train Station, located on the busy Raritan Valley Line of NJ Transit, leaves a bit to be desired. What could potentially be one of our biggest draws may actually be, in some ways, a detractor. We should work in cooperation with NJ Transit to build a facility worthy of the new Roselle Park, to have the aesthetic appeal that matches the favorable location and draws visitors and new residents to our community.
- Focus On Home Inventory
Not unlike surrounding communities and towns suffering through the economic downturn of the past few years, the available number of homes on the market has increased steadily even as prices have dropped, as a result of stagnant sales. We must assist with the occupancy of vacant housing by advertising the benefits of purchasing in Roselle Park, and as the inventory dwindles, we can all benefit from the increase in property values.
- Sell Ourselves / Publicize Our Positives
We have fallen short. We have not painted a good image of Roselle Park for the world to understand the value of our community. We must advertise the positives of our town to make sure we draw businesses, homeowners, and shoppers to our town. All of the changes I propose will not result in a vibrant community unless we fill our houses with residents that will maintain them, invite upscale businesses with a proven business model, and fill the sidewalks with potential shoppers.
- Sense Of Community
While selling ourselves to the rest of the world is important, making Roselle Park comfortable to residents and visitors is essential. We are a tight knit community. We must work together to make vision a reality. We must bind together to bring Roselle Park back, though it will be moving forward. We have the potential, but only if we all do it together.
- Quality of Life Issues
Times have changed. Our community has changed. The state of the economy has changed all of us. Of late there have been a series of quality of life issues that have come to the forefront. We must address these issues immediately. Much like the improvement of New York City from the 1980’s to the 1990’s through a ground level effort to address quality of life issues, I propose we move forward with initiatives to make Roselle Park a more comfortable area where we can all share our sense of community.
- Giving A Voice To The People
People complain about not having a voice. The first step is to vote on Election Day, as you are choosing your representative on municipal matters. I am available to you whenever you need me. My phone number is 908 468-4666. Call me and tell me what is on your mind. I want to speak for you, but can only determine what you are thinking if you tell me. The best representatives are those who listen and are willing to work for you. I hope to be that sort of Mayor, one who serves the interests of those he represents.
- Unify Our Town
“Working together we can make Roselle Park all that it can be!” It sounds trite. It sounds obvious, but it is one of the things that has been lacking. We are a community that prides itself in volunteerism, and yet we are at odds over the most inane issues. We will make our community a better place by joining together, by supporting one another to improve our communal situation.