The Heights is a vibrant neighborhood in Jersey City that is constantly evolving. New restaurants, shops, and art galleries continue to flourish, as does its deep history and community roots. Though this vibrancy is positive, many fear that the character of the Heights will be replaced by the “new” and that the neighborhood's population explosion will have a dire impact on infrastructure, parking, and litter.
Some try to divide the Heights into micro-neighborhoods, dividing us into Palisades, Central, or JFK, “New” or “Old”, “Western Slope” or “the Art District.” I agree that each part of the Heights is unique, but we should be leveraging these differences to bring a new vantage point to improve our neighborhood, not divide us. With the wisdom the lifelong residents have to offer, and the energy and innovation it's newer residents bring to the table, the Heights is primed for a renaissance.
The only way for the Heights to reach its full potential is to get involved. When I first moved to the Heights, it was difficult to find fresh produce and local products, but I decided to change that. I was able to partner with neighborhood veterans who took me under their wing and empower me to kickstart the Riverview Farmers’ Market. A few years after it's launch, the farmers market is thriving and is an incubator that has launched many new businesses.
We must recognize that we are standing on the shoulders of giants, and that the only way to honor those who came before us is to get involved and keep up the momentum. As the Heights continues to grow we will face our challenges, but all these setbacks can be overcome through hands-on leadership and an active community. Issues like parking and transportation will take creativity, while trash and litter will require manpower. Other issues like a living wage and paid sick leave, to name a few, will require unity.
I am proud to call the Heights my home and honored to be a part of this great community. Though many will attempt to divide us, I plan to unify and lead by example. We have the opportunity to preserve our amazing past while laying the groundwork for the future. I am excited to work with each of you as we continue the momentum for the Heights.