The Democratic Candidates for the South Plainfield Borough Council, Gary Vesce and Jon Dean, this week laid out some of their plans to move South Plainfield forward for our families, including the development of South Plainfield’s portion of the Middlesex County Greenway, development of a “pocket park” on the south side of the Borough, development of South Plainfield’s downtown area along South Plainfield Avenue, Front Street and Hamilton Boulevard, and Green Energy initiatives aimed at achieving savings for the borough.

“The Middlesex Greenway is an open space resource within the communities of Metuchen, Edison, and Woodbridge and should be expanded into South Plainfield,” said Gary Vesce.  “Situated on a historic portion of Lehigh Valley rail corridor, this 3.5 mile long, 42-acre corridor was purchased by the County of Middlesex in 2002 as a rails-to-trails project for recreational use.  The Greenway provides paths and trails suitable for walking, biking and jogging.  Multiple entrances provide access along the entire length of the trail, connecting a diverse array of neighborhoods to area parks, schools and shopping.  The Greenway would be an economic engine for South Plainfield. It already connects retail in downtown Metuchen, the Tano Mall and Clara Barton areas of Edison, Woodbridge Avenue businesses and the Fords section of Woodbridge and, if expanded, could include the downtown business area in South Plainfield. Continuing the Greenway into South Plainfield would bring users to the environmentally unique Dismal Swamp and connect to County-preserved properties in the Dismal Swamp and Spring Lake Park and the Borough-owned Memorial Park.”

Jon Dean also understands the importance of recreation areas and expanding summer programs for our children. “As a life-long resident of South Plainfield,” Jon Dean stated, “it is evident that families on the south side of the Borough are lacking park facilities and recreation options. With only Shady Side Park, many residents do not have easy access to recreation facilities. One of the issues Gary and I have heard talking to residents on the south side is the limited recreation facilities and programs for their kids.  This just isn’t a priority for the current all-Republican Council. Families on south side of the Borough should not left out of the benefits of having accessible recreation areas. Homeowners would also benefit financially as studies have shown that pocket parks of this nature have a positive impact on nearby property values.” 

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Economic development in our downtown is also a priority for Gary and Jon. “For years, we have known that rejuvenating our downtown area is vital for our local economy, but the Mayor and the all Republican Council have done little to move it forward,” Gary Vesce said.  “There is a great deal of potential in our downtown area, and Jon and my goal is to make sure it gets done.  We will engage businesses owners, residents, and public entities to come up with a comprehensive plan that will work for everyone. We will challenge people to think outside the box and all ideas will be considered. Can we connect the downtown to the redeveloped brownfield area at the former Hamilton Industrial Complex? What financing and incentives do businesses need relocate to downtown? What is the right mix of businesses and residential units?  These are the types of questions that we should be asking.  There are plenty of assets that can be engaged without great cost to the taxpayers such as the Bloustein School and Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers which has extensive outreach programs to assist towns with expertise in transportation, green building, energy, environment and safety.  Let’s use these resources and make this long-hoped-for revitalization a reality.  We have these great assets, but we can do better.”

Jon Dean concluded, “A few years back, the Democrats authorized an audit of the Borough’s street lighting that found that a number of street lights were in locations that are not useful or necessary anymore.  The simple switching off of these lights resulted in a savings of thousands of dollars each year. The Borough should look to implement projects which will increase efficiency, apply conservation measures, and cut out waste that will reduce our energy costs. That is the balance and thinking that we will bring to the Borough government.  Gary and I love South Plainfield, but we have visions to make it even better.”