‘You’ve elected me to listen to you’

First Street off of Princeton Avenue now has a secondary name of 'Anzano Way' in honor of Mayor Paul Anzano's service

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Residents, colleagues and friends filled Borough Hall to recognize Paul Anzano for his close to 20 years of service as Hopewell Borough mayor and councilman.

Anzano received a proclamation from the Township Council for his years of service at its meeting on Dec. 7. During his tenure, Anzano was instrumental in adding to the fire department vehicles and fire engine, which flashed their lights outside for Anzano prior to the meeting.

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Each member of the current Council read a section of the proclamation highlighting Anzano’s achievements, service and impact on Hopewell Borough.

“I always approached this position as we were elected all of us as stewards. This is not our building, this is not our government, and this is not our money, it is your money and your building,” Anzano said.

“You trusted us to provide responsible management of the Borough and for me that was financial, infrastructure and quality of life matters.”

The proclamation and fire department honors were not the only ones for Anzano.

First Street off of Princeton Avenue now has a secondary name of “Anzano Way” in honor of Anzano’s service, achievements and time to the Borough.

Council President Charles “Sky” Morehouse presented Anzano with the “Anzano Way” street sign, which he held up proudly in front of Council, family, friends and residents.

Mayor Paul Anzano (center) holds up “Anzano Way” street sign that will be the secondary name for First Street in Hopewell Borough. Photo by Andrew Harrison

Prior to the being presented the street sign, Anzano thanked his partners at Pringle, Quinn, Anzano P.C in Belmar, who he called his kitchen cabinet, all of the people he served with on Council for his 16 years as mayor and three years as a councilman, and the emergency services and fire department.

Additionally, spotlighting thanks onto the Mercer County Commissioners, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes, state Sen. Shirley Turner, Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli, and Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (all D-15).

Anzano was first elected to Borough Council in 2004 and served one three-year term.

He then was first elected mayor in 2007 and retires at the end of the month as his term expires having served four full terms as mayor.

“I always thought it was a benefit to me and to you and others that you truly be listened to. My approach has always been you’ve elected me to listen to you,” Anzano explained. “I always believed if a person felt they were truly listened to and got a thoughtful response they could accept a yes or no.”

Mayor Paul Anzano (center) delivers remarks on Dec. 7.
Photo by Andrew Harrison

Some of what he was most proud about included the mobile mayor’s office and the streetscape project for Broad Street.

When Anzano used to drive through Hopewell Borough from Trenton before he moved to town he said, “I’d come through here and say this looks like a nice downtown, but its tired and needs a paint job. I wanted to fix Broad Street and that was one of my primary goals and we did it.”

He noted that he thinks that was a fundamental change in how the Borough progressed over the next 20 years. Anzano added, “Michele Hovan deserves a lot of the credit and Mark Sampson.”

Another area while he was mayor Anzano said changed the Borough had been moving forward on a new space for Borough Hall, which is the current location now on 88 East Broad St.

“If you knew the Borough Hall before it was a dingy little office above the firehouse and was not accessible to anyone who had a handicap or stroller or health for staff,” he said, adding that he got the benefit of moving this project along.

“The groundwork was laid to find a new and distinctive Borough Hall long before I was mayor with David, Sky, Mark and David Knights. It is great building and gives the town some identity.”

Also spotlighted as Borough accomplishments he is proud of had been two Borough playgrounds and the Borough’s AA+ bond rating.

“In 2008, the state came and said we needed to shut down our playgrounds saying they are not safe, antiquated, and dangerous,” Anzano added.

“So, we shut them down and Council started the debate about how to start replacing them, but then this group stepped up called the “Moms Club” they had a concept, which was wonderful.”

At the time the Moms Club was led by Michelle Brennan, Rachel Webster, and Annette Murphy. The three women took it upon themselves to build the playgrounds via a community project.

“They located a consultant, they raised the money, they put a plan together, polled the children from the school district to see what they wanted to see in the playground, and then they scheduled a period to build them and that was in 2009,” Anzano said.

“It rained the entire week. They had 500 volunteers and two playgrounds in seven days.”

He went on to share his big concern going forward – irresponsible use of social media.

“I’m very concerned even now and going forward that I am seeing an increased irresponsible use of social media,” Anzano added. “It is not constructive and is corrosive and has a corrosive impact on people’s confidence in both government institutions and other institutions.

He stressed that it discourages good people from running for office, discourages good people to volunteer, and discourages people who might be thinking about a career in public service to say “Why”.

“I really want to encourage people before you hit send to know the facts and truth and know what you are talking about, speak to those involved and just don’t repeat what you hear on social media,” he expressed.

Anzano thanked everyone whether they were there that night or not for all of their support over the years.

“I very trustful of the mayor-elect [Ryan Kennedy] and Council. I have a ton of confidence in Ryan and the next new Council,” he said.

Council President Sky Morehouse (left) shakes Paul Anzano’s hand (right) prior to presenting with street sign for First Street. Photo by Andrew Harrison

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