RARITAN, NJ - A lifelong resident of Raritan, whose family has a history of public service in town, is seeking another term on the Raritan Borough Council this year.
“I do not believe there are many towns in the area quite like Raritan, there is a great sense of community and we all look out for each other,” said Republican Nicolas Carra, who is running for his second term. “Through the good and bad times, we as a community can come together to put Raritan ahead of ourselves, and that is something I truly love to see.”
Carra is a fifth generation Raritan resident, and the grandson of former Mayor Anthony R. Hudak and son of former councilwoman Denise Carra.
A 2014 graduate of Bridgewater-Raritan High School, Carra graduated from Raritan Valley Community College in 2016 with an Associate of Arts degree in liberal arts and from Rutgers University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.
Carra was part of the Youth on Main Street organization in town from 2010 to 2012, and has served on the borough council since 2017. He is currently the representative to the Municipal Land Use Board, chair of the finance committee and liaison to the municipal court and board of health.
“My favorite part of Raritan is its small-town charm and great sense of community,” he said. “Whenever an event occurs in town, it is nice to see the familiar faces of our residents and listen to what is going on in their lives, as well as what it is they believe we can do to improve our town.”
Carra said small business is important in a town like Raritan, particularly as they work to expand and support the Main Street.
“I must congratulate councilman Zachary Bray for the hard work he has done to bring back the Economic Development Committee,” he said. “They were successful with their first event, ‘Discovering Raritan.’ It is wonderful to see the quick progress the committee has made in such a short time.”
Carra said this will be a benefit to the main street, business owners and residents.
In addition, Carra said, one of his main goals is to see a new grocery store in town where the Stop & Shop used to be at the Raritan Mall.
“Jeffery Reality has announced plans for a major remodel at the strip mall property, and is actively seeking a new anchor store,” he said. “I will work with them to secure a store that benefits the residents of our town, and I look forward to the new work that can be done at the property.”
Aside from economic growth, Carra said he thinks it is important to focus on smart growth in town. His vision, he said, is to continue projects that redevelop properties that have been vacant for a while.
“Some examples of this can be seen at the new strip mall that is replacing the old one on Route 202,” he said. “After the roof collapsed, it sat in despair for two to three years before it came to the land use board to be rebuilt.”
In addition, Carra said, he believes the new Quick Chek at the Somerville Circle, as well as a soon-to-be-constructed daycare and education center, are great improvements to that area.
“I know that property had been underutilized and left dilapidated for many decades,” he said. “By improving these types of properties in town, and refocusing on current businesses, while introducing a variety of new businesses, I believe this will entice people to give Raritan a second look and decide to call our town home.”
Aside from some construction in the borough, drivers are dealing with almost every road being worked on as PSE&G is replacing decades-old gas lines in town.
“This important work is to guarantee the safety of our residents and to avoid gas leaks and emergencies,” he said.
For the future of roadwork, Carra said they always take a town-wide view, assessing importance and usage, and then condition of the streets.
“Our engineer then makes recommendations based on this information for which streets shall be the focus for our next round of repaving,” he said. “As for pothole repairs, our public works department always does a wonderful job in repairing those as they are reported to the town.”
Carra said he would like residents to know that he and his running mates – councilmen Paul Giraldi for council and Zachary Bray for mayor – are committed to seeing Raritan continue in a positive direction.
“We are focused on improving our main street and business climate,” he said. “We will continue the current garbage collection, as well as bulk pickup. We are looking for new ways to keep our town looking its best and continue to support our administrative, police, fire and public works departments.”