Like the many generations before it, the Millennial Generation has begun to move out to the suburbs. Largely unmarried, childless, and starting careers in the 2010s, the 2020s will likely see a different trend as marriage, home ownership, and good schools for children become more of a priority.
As part of that cohort, my wife and I looked at the surrounding area and chose Bernards Township as the place to call home. Career opportunities were abundant along with quick access to 78, 287, and the Gladstone line. My wife and I wanted parks and a walkable downtown, but in a town where we could also have a backyard. We also appreciated the growing diversity and strong sense of community and neighborliness. And of course, the schools were a top priority for our growing family. All things any generation would want or come to appreciate.
However, to attract this generation, Millennials also want an affordable place to live without sacrificing an ounce of quality. Yes, we - Millennials - want it all and Bernards Township can continue down this path, if the township is able to stay the course of fiscal discipline alongside thoughtful planning and investment.
For almost a decade, Jim Baldassare - now mayor - has shown this is possible. Jim has advocated for thoughtful municipal investments to improve the town, while prudentially holding the line on taxes. Prior to his service on the township committee, his leadership on the Planning Board as well as the Board of Adjustments has ensured the growth and development of our community.
Kate Grochala is also committed to a "pay-as-you-go" approach to public investments, but also heavily invested in the community. Kate has a long tradition of supporting our local nonprofits and encouraging others to get involved. It is often said, volunteerism is a sign of a strong community and that Millennials value volunteering more than previous generations. Kate’s advocacy for it will undoubtedly build and strengthens our community and attract others to seek out these opportunities.
Setting aside national politics, Millennials would be wise to vote for Mayor Jim Baldassare and and Kate Grochala. Bernards Township can continue to be everything an "aging" Millennial generation would want in a town, but it means staying the course.