In my prior candidate statements, I let you know that over the coming weeks, I would remind residents of all the components of my platform. (You can also read the entire Platform online at www.andy2017.com). 

This week, let’s talk about our public spaces. The opportunity to engage in recreational activities, as well as enjoy the outdoors, is essential to a satisfying quality of life experience. Enhancing Westfield’s parks and recreational facilities promotes our residents’ personal enjoyment, health and wellness and social interaction. Our parks also serve to preserve green space in perpetuity. I have worked very hard with the Department of Public Works and the Recreation Commission to give our prized parklands and recreational facilities the extra attention they deserve. During my time as mayor, the town installed turf fields at Sid Fay and Houlihan fields, rebuilt eight tennis courts at Tamaques Park and six at Memorial Park, instituted a new maintenance program at all playing fields, replaced all but one playground, constructed dugouts and added a scoreboard at Gumpert Park (in partnership with the Westfield Baseball League) and reconfigured and reconstructed the Memorial Pool Aquatic Complex.

We have also repaired and refurbished the lights in Mindowaskin Park and, this year, restored Mindowaskin Pond. We have also added a new park, named Foundation Park, to Memorial Plaza. Already in the works for the coming year is the construction of a new comfort station at Memorial Park, milling and paving of the pathways in Mindowaskin Park, installation of a new state-of-the-art playground at Mindowaskin Park and the development of long-term plans for Tamaques Park that will include a new comfort station and new turf fields.

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I hope you have noticed in your travels all of the new plantings and beautification efforts around town, the work of our “new” Public Works Department. Not only were nearly 500 new trees planted in 2016 alone on public lands and in the public right-of-way, but every public space — no matter how small — has been getting a makeover. For example, the landscaping improvements to Memorial Plaza serve as a fitting backdrop to all those honored and memorialized there. As I continue to walk all the wards in town, I am excited to hear your suggestions for improvements to our public spaces that will benefit us all.  I am committed to preserving the beauty of the town’s green spaces and enhancing our parks and recreational facilities.

Andy Skibitsky

Mayor of Westfield