BY KATHY CHANG
EDISON — Mayor Thomas Lankey said Edison Township, the fifth largest township in the state, is experiencing its own renaissance.
“More local jobs are coming to town and our local economy is stronger now than it was just a year ago,” he said during the 26th annual State-of-the-Township that was held by the Edison Chamber of Commerce at the Pines Manor on Feb. 23.
Lankey said one indicator can be found on the pages of CNN’s Money Magazine.
“In 2016, Edison Township ranked number 19 on [the magazine’s] list of Best Places to Live in America,” he said.
Money Magazine determines its cities by utilizing criteria that includes an affordable tax rate, broad scope of the township’s services, low unemployment rate and having an excellent public schools system.
Lankey declared the state of Edison Township “safe, strong and a vibrant community.”
“This is the result of strategic planning, teamwork and a focus on customer service, working together as a team with dedicated professionals to achieve the common goal of improving our community,” he said.
Lankey, who took on the mayoral role in 2014, said the township is on “a sound financial path for a stable future.”
The mayor noted that on Jan. 31, Moody’s Investors Service issued Edison Township a credit rating of MIG1 and Aa2, which he said are the highest and third highest ratings in each category.
“[Moody’s] cited our stable tax base and strong financial position [for the credit ratings],” he said.
Lankey said a person just has to take a drive through Edison to see the visible sign of the township’s economic growth and redevelopment.
“We have welcomed substantial new investments from FedEx Ground, Seagis Gateway, Topgolf, C&A Worldwide, Aldi Grocery, Superfresh, Wawa, Jersey Mikes and many others,” he said.
The mayor said Zinburger and Starbucks are soon to be the newest additions to the Route 1 landscape joining Sam’s Club and Topgolf in the Hartz Mountain Industries, Inc. Edison Towne Square development. Another business, CARMAX, is expected to also be located on Route 1.
Lankey said the commercial investments in the township have translated into nearly 3,000 new, full-and part-time jobs as well as temporary construction jobs.
“These investments are helping to strengthen our local economy and increase our ratable base,” he said.
Lankey said they have actively pursued redevelopment opportunities throughout the township.
“Amboy Avenue, Camp Kilmer and Raritan Center Parkway are only some of the redevelopment projects we have begun and anticipate that they will make wonderful additions to Edison’s business community,” he said. “Some of these will include affordable housing opportunities for seniors and veterans.”
During the State-of-the-Township address, Lankey said township officials have embarked on the planning phase of building a “sorely needed” new community center.
He said a request for proposal to design the facility has been sent out for bid.
“We have also been working with the Edison Sheltered Workshop [based at the Dorothy K. Drwal Stelton Community Center] to find a new home within the township for it to provide its services,” said Lankey.
Edison Sheltered Workshop provides vocational rehabilitation services to people with disabilities who are residents of Middlesex County and at least 16 years of age.
The township currently has two community centers, the Dorothy K. Drwal Stelton Community Center on Plainfield Avenue and Minnie B. Veal Community Center on Grove Avenue.
Township officials have been looking for a new space for the aging Dorothy K. Drwal Stelton Community Center, which had been a former school building. Parts of the building were built in the 1930s and other parts were built in the 1950s.