ELIZABETH, NJ - Mayor Sal Bonaccorso was nominated for the Mayor of the Year Award at the Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 29th Annual Mayors’ Dinner, at the Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel.

More than 400 people listened as mayors or their designees from around Union County municipalities provided updates on the state of their communities.

Awards were given out this year  for Mayor of the Year, Business Administrator of the Year and Best Speaker, which goes to the most entertaining and/or imaginative speaker of the evening.

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Bonaccorso has been nominated for Mayor of the Year four times and is the only Union County mayor to have won twice.  In his speech, Bonaccorso spoke with great pride about what he refers to as the great state of Clark.

He yielded a ballroom full of chuckles when he told the audience unlike other towns struggling with vacancies in their downtown areas; his downtown had none because there is no downtown in Clark.

Bonaccorso used the joke as a springboard to talk about the progress being made on Westfield Ave.   “All kidding around aside, we are working real hard on Westfield Avenue becoming a real downtown.  There have been new businesses going up, new buildings,” said Bonaccorso.

He said the township went after the owners of the old A&P/Foodtown property with eminent domain and they are now in negotiations with a developer for a building with stores on the bottom and apartments above.    

“This will bring foot traffic to our downtown,” said Bonaccorso.  “Downtown Westfield Avenue is something we are striving very hard for right now. 

After Bonaccorso finished, dinner was served and the remaining mayors spoke.  The final part of the night was the presentation of awards.   This year's winners were:

  • Mayor of the Year – Mayor Derek Armstead of Linden
  • Business Administrator – Jill Goode, CFO of Mountainside
  • Best Speaker of the Night –Mayor Dahlia Vertreese of Hillside

About the Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce

The Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce is the largest business association in the New York/Northern New Jersey Region, comprising 12 regional and local chambers with 1,200 members.


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