TAPintoWestfield: Building a Plan for the Future

This article originally appeared in TAPintoWestfield on Oct. 11, 2017

tapreal.png My family has called Westfield home for almost 60 years. My wife’s family has been here nearly 40 years. We’re Westfield “lifers” by choice. There’s a reason that we, and many of our former classmates, are now raising our children here. We know the many wonderful things that have made Westfield a destination in our lives, and not just a stop along the way. From the downtown to the schools to our neighbors, there is so much to love. This is a great place to live.

And yet, I’m concerned. We can’t afford to take Westfield’s future for granted. Our world is changing more and more each day. An obvious example, and one that has been discussed a great deal in town lately, is the “retail paradigm shift,” and its impact on our downtown. Our shopping needs and expectations have changed. We have to embrace that change if we want Westfield to remain a bustling town with a vibrant community — one with its best years still ahead of it. If we want a Westfield that our own children will want to raise their families in years from now, we have to build a bridge to that future.

This past April, the Mayor’s Downtown Task Force assessed the situation and suggested recommendations to address the challenges we are facing. Unfortunately, the recommended solutions were incremental rather than strategic. My wife, Adrienne, and I both appreciate what Mayor Skibitsky and the Task Force have done, but the fact is, the report came up short. It did not go far enough in addressing how we can move Westfield forward and get ahead, instead of continuing to play catch up. In an online, on-demand world, we need to take a hard look at what it will take to transform Westfield.

We should look at our neighboring towns, and towns across the country, to study and understand what makes them successful. This includes things like creating new revenue streams built on a modern downtown infrastructure and shared work places where our best and brightest can meet up and create together. We need a vision for the future, developed in partnership with the entire town that leverages the incredible intellectual capital right here in our backyard.

Shelley Brindle has such a vision, and knows how to bring people together. After reading her platform, we had the opportunity to talk to her, ask her questions,and challenge her answers. Her vision is more than just words. Like us, she has a heartfelt appreciation for what makes Westfield a special place. (She chose to raise her own family here for those very same reasons).

And, just as important, Shelley has demonstrated throughout a long and successful career that she knows how to lead, innovate, empower, engage and, above all, get results. Shelley has proven that she has the passion, the skills and the grit needed to propel Westfield forward. We are excited to vote for Shelley Brindle to be the next mayor of Westfield.

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