To the editor:

I'd like to respond to recent comments by Flemington Mayor Phil Greiner and former Councilman Joey Novick.  

I was one of the four candidates on last year's ballot for the Flemington Borough council. With little notoriety and no budget to aid my campaign, I made flyers at home and paid out-of-pocket for stacks of copies. Over the summer and into autumn, I distributed my flyers and introduced myself to borough residents by going door to door, one by one, until Election Day arrived. Although I did not win a seat, after receiving nearly a quarter of the vote, I am very satisfied in the campaign I ran.

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The primary topic that dominated conversation involved the redevelopment of the Union Hotel. Voters wanted to know where I stood; I, in turn, wanted to know how voters felt. Although I had – and still have – reservations with the scope and scale of the current redevelopment proposal, I remain in support of the redevelopment of the hotel site.

Unlike what I have read recently, the tremendous majority of residents are pro redevelopment. I lost count of how many residents and households I visited after hitting 500 and the same sentiment echoed from door to door. Some residents feel that redevelopment is the only path to the revitalization of our downtown. Some feel the hotel is too far gone or the project too costly. Some are weary from the bickering. Whatever the reason or reasons, the sentiment remained the same: it's time to redevelop the Union Hotel property.

I was surprised at first based on comments I had seen from other Council candidates indicating that the town's majority are against redevelopment. I now know that such statements are inaccurate. I also found that a number of Republican-voting residents I spoke with did not know that Councilwoman Susan Peterson was running on a pro-preservation platform and had planned to vote for both Susan and Councilman John Gorman based on party affiliation alone.

I believe Mayor Greiner is correct when he says that the majority of borough residents are pro-redevelopment. I intend to run again this year and I hope to represent the majority of borough residents who, like me, feel that the time has come to redevelop the Union Hotel property.

Harrison Gerdes

Flemington