Mayor Shortway Addresses North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority Workshop

Posted: September 21, 2017

On Friday, September 15, 2017, Vernon Mayor Harry Shortway participated in a panel discussion as part of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and the Together North Jersey’s workshop on Creative Placemaking and Economic Impact.

Including other mayors, there were over 100 registrants from the 13 northern New Jersey counties who serve as county and municipal leaders in economic development, planning, community development, cultural development and tourism. Mishelle Downtain, recreation director for the township was among the attendees.

Mayor Shortway provided a presentation entitled “The Move Forward” which offered specifics of his vision to grow the economy of Vernon Township. He pointed to the fact that recently Vernon was chosen by Expedia as New Jersey’s best destination for nature lovers and how critical it is to capitalize on the physical and natural assets inherent to the area. He detailed his plans for “Sustainable Economic Development within the Highlands Plan” that includes farmland preservation and agricultural and ecological management which will lead to enhanced agri and ecotourism.

In addition to highlighting the benefits of smart growth to capitalize on tourism, Mayor Shortway based his plan on the importance of serving the needs of local residents and existing businesses. His plan targets the necessity to provide housing for seniors, promote historic and cultural resources including efforts like the ongoing development of the Western Highlands Scenic Byway and the community volunteer-led completion of a portion of the greenway.

When finished the greenway will span from the state border to Mountain Creek to the town center. The byway is the 8th such state designated road in the state. Travelling from Route 23 along Route 515 and onto to Route 94 to the border of NY, the byway also includes a loop around Vernon Crossing to the junction of 515 and 94 in the town center.

These efforts and a concentration on growth of a vibrant, bike and pedestrian friendly downtown will serve to mark Vernon as true four season destination.

Mayor Shortway shared the podium with other state and northern New Jersey leaders including Robert Tessier from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Aisha Glover, CEO and executive director of Newark Community Economic Development Corporation, award winning assistant planner for Monmouth County, Joseph Barris and Bloomfield councilperson and Essex County freeholder-candidate, Carlos Pomares.

The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Colette Santasieri, executive director of Policy and Planning Innovation for Civil Infrastructure and Environment at the New Jersey Innovation Institute/NJIT. The entire workshop highlighted the impact of the numerous creative initiatives in placemaking, the sharing of rich resources found in the 13 northern New Jersey counties as well as opportunities for information exchange and collaboration.