As I’ve been knocking on doors throughout Ward 2, almost everyone I speak with asks about Downtown and the plan to revitalize it. 

The setbacks we’ve experienced are rooted in decisions made and not made a decade ago. By implementing the Town’s first community-driven Master Plan process, Mayor Shelley Brindle is helping set Westfield on track for the future and doing the work to get us ahead of the curve. 

The progress we’ve seen this past year is indicative of her efforts:

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New businesses have come in and are thriving, like Farinolio, Warby Parker, Boxwood Coffee, Acting Out, InnovAsian Taco and Buddha Fish. Others like Spice Bazaar, Midtown Authentic and Fettle & Fare expanded to meet customer demand, doubling down on their commitment to Westfield.

We’ll soon have our first brewery, and be able to enjoy BareBurger with a view. This is a direct result of newly enacted, pro-growth ordinances allowing microbreweries and rooftop dining. These are modern, quality of life expectations and a proactive driver for economic growth.

New and updated community events are just as impactful to this growth because they support and centralize foot traffic. Routinely turning Quimby Street into a pedestrian plaza has changed the way we experience Downtown. AddamsFest showed us the power of our community story and updating Sweet Sounds into a Musical Festival showcasing local talent, made Tuesdays in Westfield even better. 

These new actions aren’t inherently special. They did, however, require imagination, capable leadership to set a vision and an energized team to execute to fruition. And all of these call, first and foremost, for a proactive approach to problem solving. Westfield did not have a holistic Town plan, a basic function of municipal governance, for over a decade. It’s why we remained reactive for so long, and we need to keep those days in the past. 

I work at a global law firm, was a prosecutor in the Manhattan DA’s office, presented more than 175 cases to the grand jury and conducted 25 criminal trials. My through-line in these experiences was constantly innovating my approach — which helped me win the first hate crime trial conviction in New York State.

We can’t do the same thing over and over and expect a new result. This is why I share in Mayor Shelley Brindle’s optimism for our Downtown. In her almost two years as Mayor, she’s forged a new paradigm for how town hall can deliver new and better results for Westfield. As your Ward 2 Councilman, I will help build on the progress we’ve seen so far.

I look forward to seeing you at the Master Plan presentation on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall Community Room, and earning your vote on Nov. 5.

To learn more and volunteer:
Email: mark@westfieldtogether.com
Visit: parmeleeforward2.com
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