Campaigning door-to-door in Summit’s neighborhoods, I have met a lot of senior citizens and listened to their concerns. Some of the recurring concerns I have heard are about keeping Summit affordable, transportation and services geared to seniors.
The suburbs traditionally have catered to families with children. The Democratic slate for city government believes now is the time to devote special attention to the needs of our seniors because having a diverse community from young families to seniors enriches the community for everyone. Seniors enrich our city with their experience and public spirit. We’re enthusiastic about focusing on the interests and contributions of older residents.
Keeping Summit affordable is key. This is the threshold issue for many retirees who want to stay in Summit. We’re convinced that smart fiscal planning can control costs and taxes – and preserve the quality of vital services. Safe housing is also essential. We’ll promote measures like the Housing Rehabilitation Program, which offers interest-free loans for major home repairs to income-qualified citizens.
Many excellent institutions already provide services, including the City’s Department of Community Programs, SAGE, the YMCA, the Connection, the Library and our churches and synagogues, but smooth coordination would make access to services easier and improve their regular use. Creative private-public partnerships can accomplish this without any real cost to taxpayers and as elected officials we would take the lead to promote this partnership.
We also want to work on providing some simple, cost-effective steps to make Summit more senior-friendly. Transportation is a challenge for seniors in a suburban city like ours. We need to expand our Senior Connection bus services. We also need to explore new options such as organizing a cadre of volunteer drivers to get seniors where the need to go: the supermarket, medical appointments, and social events. How about senior discount shopping days, convenient outdoor benches (need some at the Farmer’s Market), and more restroom availability to make it more comfortable for seniors to enjoy the downtown?
We recognize the role our seniors hold in the community because of their experience, wisdom and public spirit. We appreciate seniors’ contributions to Summit – as volunteers, active members of local organizations, “second-career” entrepreneurs, customers of local merchants and audiences for cultural events. We – the Democratic slate for Mayor and Common Council – are committed to making life in Summit for seniors easier and better. We’ve been ringing your doorbells and listening to your stories and concerns. And if elected, we promise that we will get to work on making life in Summit better for seniors.
To all of you in town who feel that we are all enriched by our diversity and by the contributions of our seniors, please vote for Eileen Forman Ludden, Susan Hairston, Dennis White and myself, Sandy Bloom.
Democratic Candidate for Ward 1