On Friday, January 26, Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr served as a panelist on the “Who Runs the World? Girls! Power, Money, and Law” session during the New Jersey Planning Conference in New Brunswick, NJ. Mayor Mahr shared her experiences in public service, highlighting her efforts to revitalize Fanwood, alongside five other influential women on the panel.
“Being on this panel was a great opportunity, not only was I able share my stories about Fanwood and my experiences in public service, but I also was able to interact with my fellow panelists and participants on how we can all improve our communities,” said Mayor Mahr.
As a result of Mayor Mahr’s efforts to revamp buildings in downtown Fanwood into captivating retail and residential spaces, the town has seen a boost in economic growth and investments. The story of redevelopment in Fanwood has become a case study in small-town transit-oriented-development. Spurning the traditional approach of having a single developer work with local government to assemble properties through eminent domain, Mayor Mahr and Fanwood officials worked hand-in-hand with local property owners to create a cohesive and updated downtown. This approach empowered the local businesses and helped to retain beloved local institutions while making way for additional growth.
Recognized by the State of New Jersey with inclusion in the New Jersey Redevelopment Handbook as well as receiving the 2014 Smart Growth Award for their transit-oriented-development project, the Borough was tapped to host the October 2017 New Jersey Redevelopment Authority for a workshop directed to planners and developers facing similar challenges.
The other speakers included Committeewoman from Union Township Michèle Delisfort, Village President of South Orange Village Sheena C. Collum, Summit Mayor Nora Radest, Senior Managing Director of Phoenix Advisors LLC Sherry L. Tracey, Partner of McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC Erin K. Law, and Member of Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi, PC Lisa John-Basta.