Ridgewood News Newspaper

By Paul Aronsohn

Welcome to my last edition of the Mayor’s Corner – my monthly Ridgewood News column that I began in July 2012 as a means for informing and engaging Ridgewood residents.  I certainly hope it’s been useful….

Reorganization Meeting

On Friday, July 1, the Village Council will hold its reorganization meeting – a time-honored tradition when we transition from one Council to another.   Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli, Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck and I will offer our final remarks as new Councilmembers Ramon Hache, Jeff Voigt and Bernadette Walsh take their oaths of office.  Everyone is encouraged to attend or to watch on television.

Parking Deck Referendum – June 21

But before we transition … there is a very important special election being held on Tuesday, June 21.  There will be one question on the ballot:  Basically, do you support financing and building a parking deck at Hudson Street that could cost up to $11.5 million.

Granted, there have already been a series of votes on this matter, most notably:

  • On November 3, Ridgewood residents voted overwhelmingly to support a parking deck at Hudson Street at a cost of up to $15 million.  In fact, a full 65 percent of the voters supported it.
  •  On March 23, the Village Council voted unanimously (5-0) to build a Hudson Street parking deck at a cost of up to $11.5 million.

But this upcoming vote – on Tuesday, June 21 – will be legally binding and is therefore very important.

For more information, please visit the Village website at www.ridgewoodnj.net .

Suffice it to say, for all of our sake, I hope everyone votes YES!

Thank you, Ridgewood

When I first joined the Council in 2008, the world was a different place. George Bush was President.   Jon Corzine was Governor.  Wall Street had not yet crashed.  The Village Council had just adopted a 7% tax increase.

Taken together, my time on the governing body has been many things – busy, exciting, demanding, rewarding, frustrating, etc — but most of all, it has been an honor and a privilege.

I say that because I genuinely love Ridgewood.  I genuinely love so many things about our community. The look. The feel. The history. The promise. The way of life. The people.

That is why I have worked so hard … have attended so many events … have met with so many residents … have sat thru so many long, sometimes challenging meetings.   And that is why I have appreciated (almost) every moment of my 8 years on the Council, including the last four as Mayor.

Clearly, there are numerous people I would like to thank – people whose partnership I have appreciated and whose leadership I have valued – but in the interest of time and space, let me just acknowledge a few of the extraordinary groups of people with whom I have been fortunate to work.

Village Professionals:   I have never worked with a better group of people.  Their commitment to Ridgewood is solid.  Their passion for their work is real.  And generally speaking, they just happen to be really good, really decent, really thoughtful people.  This is true across the entire organization.  Every office.  Every department.  Our Village professionals are the reason that Ridgewood is such a safe, well-run community.  And they are one of the main reasons that Ridgewood is such a great place to live, work and raise a family.

Interfaith Community:   Ridgewood is lucky to have such a vibrant and full community of faith — one that works so well together, one that enriches the life of our community in profoundly important ways.   As a “young” Council member, the clergy welcomed me into their work and allowed me to partner with them on interfaith services as well as a host of other events and initiatives.  For that, I am so grateful. On a personal level, my family has proudly belonged to both Temple Israel and Mount Carmel, but I have had the opportunity to attend services in many of our houses of worship.   And although I don’t want to single anyone out, I feel compelled to note that our Metropolitan AME Zion Church is one of Ridgewood’s best kept secrets.

Education Community:  Our education community is second to none.   Everything about it is strong — the curriculum, the extracurricular activities and the people behind it all:  the approximately 1,000 people who teach our students, coach our athletes, lead our extracurricular activities, run our schools and set our policies.  Nothing is more important than our children, and we are so fortunate that they are in great hands at least 180 days per year.

Business Community:  Led by our Chamber of Commerce and Ridgewood Guild, our business community is extraordinary.  Many of our business leaders are also residents.  Many have been here for a long time.  Regardless, our business community is comprised of people who deeply care about our Village and have invested a great deal of time, money and passion into making our central business district the very best.  Individually and collectively, they help keep Ridgewood great.

Disability Community:  One of the first things I did in 2008 was to establish a so-called “Access” committee to address disability issues.  In doing so, I had no idea that Ridgewood’s “disability community” – families with disability issues as well as those who just want to make a difference – was so large and so wonderful.   Led by a core group of about 20 extraordinary people, our Ridgewood Community Access Network (CAN) has made our Village an even more inclusive, more welcoming, more accessible community.  I look forward to continuing my work with all of them.

Mayor’s Office Hours

I will hold my last monthly office hours tomorrow — Saturday, June 4 from 9:00am to 12:00pm in the Village Hall 4th Floor Council Chamber. All Ridgewood residents are welcome.

Final Thank You

 

Again, thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve. I will always be grateful.

See you around town….

Mayor Paul Aronsohn can be reached via email (paronsohn@ridgewoodnj.net), through his

Twitter account (@paularonsohn) or through the Village Clerk’s office.