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Democratic council CandidatE

ray guzman

  1. What is your opinion on the potential redevelopment projects as listed on the Borough website? 

    This is an exciting time for Rutherford as we move forward toward economic growth. Redevelopment of these areas requires a smart balance of compliance, needs, wants and  financial responsibility. We all agree that these areas need change, whether that change is a full redevelopment or a refurbishment. Of great importance here is that we establish competitive growth with surrounding communities while protecting the interest of the Borough. As a first year Councilman I had the privilege of witnessing democracy at its best. Our residents voiced their concerns regarding redevelopment. While it is important to receive the suggestions and concerns of our residents, it is more important to truly hear our residents. During a recent Mayor and Council meeting, I along with my Council colleagues, voted down a 2nd read ordinance. Following that meeting I received positive feedback from residents, thanking me for listening to their thoughts.  I am proud to be part of this Governing Body that listened to the concerns of our residents and unanimously voted no to this reading. I look forward to looking at any future redevelopment as the unique projects they are and weighing the potential benefits to the town on a case by case basis.

  2. What do you hope can be included in the new county park that will be created where the current Highline is along Erie Ave. in Rutherford? 

    This is a rare opportunity for a Borough such as Rutherford that has limited space for parks.  I would like to see a running/walking trail and sitting areas with points of interest. I’m sure our historians can find plenty of history representing both towns which could be exhibited and enjoyed during a casual walk through the park while reflecting history of the two boroughs. Though size may not permit, I’d like to see a performing arts space carved out where residents can sit back and enjoy performances by local talents, perhaps along the river. This park will be a collaboration between Bergen County, East Rutherford and Rutherford. What I really want to see here is a talent pool of Rutherford professionals in the fields of park engineering, landscaping and green space initiatives willing to give their time and professional skills for the benefit of Rutherford residents, which I hope to facilitate through our new committee process.      

  3. There are quite a few new businesses that have either recently opened or will open soon. How do you feel the Mayor and Council can help support and promote these new businesses? 

    I would like to see not only new businesses but all businesses supported on our borough website. A link on the site with a categorized listing of Rutherford’s businesses as well as a description of services offered will not only support new business but, current residents, new residents and visitors. This site would also entice new prospective businesses seeking to invest in a vibrant community knowing they have the support of outreach by the borough. Rutherford is the “Gem of Bergen County” and we should capitalize on promoting what we have to offer.

    Gathering this information for our website and keeping it up to date would require a committee of resident volunteers. If elected, I would support the creation of this committee and the initiative of this valuable asset.    

  4. What initiative do you envision implementing if elected that can bring revenue streams to our town?

    In addition to encouraging new foot traffic to enjoy our local businesses, I plan to explore alternate sources of green energy to benefit our borough. The time has come for the borough to consider alternate sources that can provide savings and a possible revenue stream that would offset current cost. If elected, I will work with organizations that are State and Federal supported offering little to no expense to local municipalities for the purpose of greenhouse initiatives. 

  5. What do you envision Rutherford’s Downtown looking like 10 years from now and how would you accomplish that? 

    I have lived In Rutherford for 23 years. During these 23 years I have witnessed businesses come and go. I have witnessed store fronts that have been altered to the point that our historical pride is no longer visible. I have seen store fronts windows that were uninviting and not maintained while others seek to invest and maintain their businesses. Two months ago I was asked by our Mayor to join the team of professionals making up the Streetscape Committee. I have sat in these meetings quietly to listen and get an understanding of the purpose of this committee and how they interact with new business owners. I have watched these members collectively submit their ideas to create a common goal of preservation and higher echelon. I applaud the efforts of this committee as they understand that branding is important to any local downtown area of business. I am a brand builder by trade, and my mindset and experience lends itself to the understanding that a vibrant downtown that holds true to identity will be a draw for new business opportunities and investment. 

    If elected, I will continue to support the initiatives of such committees and will remain committed not only to the beautification and brand building of our downtown but also to our West End district. 

    If we continue to stay on course and not lose sight of “the Brand” I envision beautiful thriving well invested businesses with preservation of our Boroughs historical pride. 

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