Sunday, September 25, 2016

Redevelopment is the Key to Our Future

Breaking ground on the West End: $30 million commercial and residential development project, "The Muse," under way.

Flanked by developers J.G. Petrucci and TD+ Partners.
Everywhere you look around Plainfield, signs of revitalization and redevelopment are evident. They are signs of a city that is evolving, changing, and growing with the potential to become something greater than it was before.

It is easy to take this redevelopment for granted, to dismiss it as something less significant than what it represents. A new structure appears on the city's horizon, and we are told that it represents change and progress, but it doesn't directly affect our lives...or so we think. absolutely does, Plainfield! A new structure impacts every single family and person.

Architectural rendering of The Muse.
Redevelopment means jobs; every project brings employment to our local workforce, and it means that someone sees something positive about Plainfield and is willing to invest in what he or she sees. It means a better place to live for those taking advantage of the housing developments. It means stability, because it brings people to Plainfield, as opposed to having them leave. It means more places of business offering more choices to our local consumers. It means building something of substance that will help to shape the future of our city.

As Plainfield grows, our ability to attract new residents, potential developers, investors, and new business owners also grows. Our tax base expands, our property values rise, and we have more businesses offering more goods and services. All these things have a direct correlation to our quality of life and to the survival and success of Plainfield.

Just as the pioneers' survival in the early republic depended on their ability to quickly build and establish shared places for commerce and social activity, Plainfield, too, as an evolving city, faces a changing landscape of needs to we which must adapt, through  our diverse offerings of living spaces and business accommodations. We need to utilize our assets as far as possible to aid in this growth, hence my administration's vision and pursuit of mixed use and transit-oriented development, which will entice more urban working-  and suburban living-type residents into our community.

My administration continues to hold redevelopment high on our list as one of the most important tasks that we tackle on behalf of the Plainfield community. We continue to seek out new opportunities. We continue to find ways to woo investors. We continue to provide avenues for new businesses to open and for existing businesses to improve. At the end of the day, success is measured only by the collective quality of life of our entire community.

Make no mistake, Plainfield: we are on the move, and every investment into our city, every successful redevelopment project, every new business opened, every new resident who puts down roots, is helping to build our success and craft the future of our city.

At the end of the day, revitalizing Plainfield is not just about surviving--it is about overcoming, succeeding, and building a sustainable legacy for the future of our children, and our children's children. This is the vision we see: a revitalized Plainfield, inclusive of all.

It is crucial to keep this in our minds as we continue to unite and rise as a community, and as a family.  

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
City of Plainfield 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Education: Our Most Powerful Tool of Change

Education is the most powerful tool of change that we have at our disposal. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, in his essay, “The Purpose of Education,” that “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically, intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only the power of concentration but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living.

This is as true today as when he said it over 65 years ago. Because what society exists without the ultimate goal being to enrich its members? What community system is there, regardless of type or size—that does not strive to educate all of its members in some form or the other, regardless of age, gender, or race?

With our rapidly evolving and diverse community here in Plainfield, we need to ask ourselves how these changing demographics affect the way we educate our children. How do we ensure that each child regardless of ethnicity or place of origin receives the same quality education and the same opportunities? How do we educate each one for success?

Studies have shown that minorities benefit greatly from high-quality preschool education. Not all children are equally ready to learn when they enter kindergarten. For those who start out behind (and that often includes low-income and minority children), it can be difficult to catch up. In response, many states have initiated prekindergarten programs to promote school readiness and close achievement gaps.

To this end, my administration is actively seeking means to fund a program we call Plainfield Promise. One of the goals of Plainfield Promise is to open an account of $500 for every single preschooler here in Plainfield. The aim is to help them learn financial literacy, as well as critical money management skills, which will be invaluable to them later in life. This will encourage them to save and provide for their own financial future. We want to set them on a steady path to continued education and provide incentives for them to crave learning. There is a much stronger chance of creating lifelong learners when they learn to enjoy it while still young.

I believe that an investment in the education of our youth is a direct investment into the future of our City. To this end, Plainfield Promise also has as an objective the tertiary education of every single Plainfield High School graduate who qualifies for college but who lacks the financial means. We will pay for them to attend Union County College, because no child should be denied an education because of economic challenges.
Plainfield, these measures are by no means a solution or comprehensive strategy, but it represents a vision for our community, which includes education, learning, growing and building... by investing in the most precious commodity we have.

If we are to grow and succeed, we must anticipate and plan ahead. We must educate for growth, we must educate for learning, we must educate for survival, and we must educate for success.


Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
City of Plainfield

Monday, September 12, 2016

One Plainfield - One Future

What does "One Plainfield - One Future" really mean?

This phrase has been my rallying cry since I took office as Mayor in 2014 and it closes my editorial each week. However, it is far more than merely a catchphrase; I believe it is the mantra upon which the success of our City depends.

Plainfield, we are blessed to be a diverse community. One need only take a walk in the downtown business district to see the manifestation of this diversity, with many different ethnicities existing and flourishing side by side. You can taste it in the food, hear it in the various accents, and see it reflected in the faces of the children.

While we embrace and celebrate these differences, it is most important to understand that the City of Plainfield is our home. If our city is to grow and be as successful as it has the potential to be, it is imperative that we treat it as such, and that we unify, that we support each other...that we put aside petty differences and make decisions that are in the best interests of our City. Divided, we each carve out just a small piece of the pie for ourselves but, united, we share in the synergy that makes "One Plainfield" greater than the sum of its parts. United, we don't just survive... we thrive. United, we can achieve seemingly impossible things against the odds.

There are some who would divide Plainfield according to the ward in which they live; there are some who seek to divide by street, or district, or religion, or ethnicity, or social status, or even philosophy. None of this matters...a failure in our City is a reflection of us all, and each success is a win we all share. Every new business that opens is a building block in the future stability of our local economy; every new redevelopment project is a sign that we are moving forward, and every single dollar spent in Plainfield is a dollar invested in the well-being of our City.

"One Plainfield" means a quality education for every single child who lives here. "One Plainfield" means benefits and opportunities for every resident regardless of address or status. "One Plainfield" means an administration that works tirelessly on behalf of EVERY single Plainfielder. "One Plainfield" means UNITY; it represents hope, it reflects a new way of thinking, and it is our future....

"One Plainfield, One Future"...I see and bear witness to the resilience that exists here; I listen to the stories of hardships and triumphs; I've lived the ups and downs of changing economies and tough fiscal times; and one thing that has always been constant is the strength of the people who live in our community. This is what sets us apart, this ability to get knocked down, to pick ourselves up, and to move on in spite of... It is this resilience that we must tap into as we unify and stand together against division, against crime, against backward thinking... it is what "One Future" is built on. If one of us fails, we all fail... we are only as strong as the weakest among us, and we have to build now for our children and the future of our city.

Plainfield, I am as dedicated today as when I took office in 2014, and I am as single-minded in my purpose to serve every single person in Plainfield. I am as relentless in my pursuit of a quality education for every child and tertiary education for every Plainfield high school graduate. I share my vision with you because I need you to see it and feel it, too. I want you to grow as Plainfield grows, and I want you to feel and live the truth and power that is manifested in the words...

One Plainfield, One Future.

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
City of Plainfield


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Recent VIolence Does Not Define Us

We are defined by our love and diversity.

Many of you, like me, have been disturbed by the recent spike in homicides in our City. We have lost members of our Plainfield family in what seems to be a series of senseless killings, and we want answers. I do not want to offer rhetoric in response to these events. I would never seek to diminish the level of urgency we all feel. When one of us grieves, we all grieve, and I truly am hurt and sickened by these tragedies. 

I have visited with the families of the victims, as recently as yesterday and I have expressed my deep sorrow at the loss of their loved ones; I have pledged my full support and the support of our police division and other law enforcement agencies to track down and to hold the responsible parties accountable. I do this quietly because, for me, it is not political and never should be. I meet with the grieving families quietly because I care deeply.

Now, more than ever, it is important for us to come together and be united in our stand against the criminal elements among us who would seek to destroy the quality of our lives, and our daily peace of mind.

I want to assure you that our Plainfield police force, in cooperation with other enforcement agencies, is not just being reactive in this situation. They have been aggressively attacking this problem over the past few years and have stepped up their activities in recent months. 

The law enforcement entities dedicated to investigating and stopping these type of crimes have been conducting raids, seizing guns, and working tirelessly to prevent the flow of drugs into our community. There are many aspects of these investigations which cannot be divulged or commented on, but not for one moment should the perception be that nothing is being done to quell this tide of violence. Since 2014, the Plainfield Police Narcotics Division, the Detective Bureau, the Patrol Bureau, along with the Union County Prosecutors Office, the Union County Sheriff's Office and other enforcement units, have taken 120 guns off the streets of Plainfield, and they have executed search warrants within and outside of Plainfield as they have followed various trails of evidence.
A lot of police work depends on officers actually witnessing a crime or citizens getting involved.  In order to further aid in curtailing violent crime, we have installed 30 high-definition cameras at various locations throughout the City. With cameras in place as a force multiplier, police work has been much more proactive. These cameras give the operators the ability to have a 360 degree panoramic view up to several hundred feet within the area. 

I have met with the Union County Prosecutor and asked for assistance in stemming the flow of drugs and guns into Plainfield. We have been utilizing the resources they have made available to us as effectively as we can, and every lead has been followed up. Rest assured that we are leaving no stone unturned as we fight back against this scourge.

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
City of Plainfield