‘We will continue to elevate this special place’

Hopewell Borough has new mayor after former mayor retires

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With the beginning of 2024, a new era begins in the Hopewell Borough mayor’s office and on Borough Council.

On Jan. 2, Ryan Kennedy took his oath of office as he was sworn in as the borough’s next mayor. Kennedy took the oath with his children by his side and now begins a four-year term.

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“Thank you all for what you do to support this borough. Working with our friends in the township, Pennington and the county we will continue to elevate this special place,” he said.

“It has been an honor to be one of your representatives on council for the past six years and I am humbled to be sworn in tonight as mayor.”

ANDREW HARRISON/HOPEWELL VALLEY NEWS
Mayor Ryan Kennedy (center).

Having served on Borough Council for six years and winning his election in November, Kennedy succeeds former Mayor Paul Anzano, who retired after 16 years as mayor.

“We have challenges facing us and I have every confidence that the determination, knowledge, and energy of those who sit next to me here will guide us through,” he said.

Kennedy explained that with Council they will continue to make strides with its water system, will work towards initial steps to be certified by Sustainable Jersey, and will see the speed limit lowered on Broad Street and the continued work towards new safety infrastructure.

“My goals are my colleagues’ goals, and their goals will be mine,” he said.

This month Kennedy will be holding formal regular weekday and Saturday office hours and is encouraging council members to provide regular updates to keep borough residents, businesses and nonprofits informed.

“With that I say thank you, all of you for being a part of this community. By working together this can be that special place our children will want to come back to,” he added.

Kennedy was not the only one being sworn into public office for the borough.

Sheri Hook and Heidi Wilenius became the borough’s newest council members when they were sworn-in during the reorganization meeting.

ANDREW HARRISON/HOPEWELL VALLEY NEWS
Sheri Hook (center) with her family as she is sworn in to be a member of Borough Council on Jan. 2.

With family by their side and in front of a packed Borough Hall filled with county, state legislature, and Hopewell Valley officials and residents, they both took their oaths of office.

ANDREW HARRISON/HOPEWELL VALLEY NEWS
Heidi Wilenius (center) and family as she takes oath of office for Borough Council.

The Council now consists of David Mackie, Debra Stuhler, Samara McAuliffe, Krista Weaver, Hook and Wilenius.

This year for the Borough Council there will also be a new council president – Krista Weaver.

ANDREW HARRISON/HOPEWELL VALLEY NEWS
Council President Krista Weaver (center).

Weaver serves in the new position following an election by fellow members on council after former and long-serving Council President Charles “Sky” Morehouse lost his re-election bid in 2023 to Hook and Wilenius.

“These are pretty big shoes to fill and what I don’t necessarily have in stature, I hope to make up in hard work and a willingness to get things done,” she said.

“I’m honored that my colleagues have decided to give me this opportunity, but my preference would be for Councilman Morehouse to have remained on council and in the role of president. He has served the community well for a long time.”

McAuliffe nominated Weaver for council president. There were no other names nominated by members of council.

The council voted unanimously in favor of Weaver to serve as council president in 2024.

Weaver said that while it is not a surprise to anyone that her main concern is pedestrian and bike safety, there are other issues facing the town such as the water utility that will also be a focus for as council president.

“And as far as priorities for this year, I remain steadfast in my commitment to increase pedestrian and bike safety in the borough. One of the best ways to move forward with that goal is to seek outside funding and design assistance,” she added.

“I also think we need to continue to support Councilman Mackie in his efforts to right our water issues, I’m excited to learn more about how we can further support local businesses and I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue Councilman Morehouse’s effort to renovate the DPW building.”

 She stressed that last year the council was able to hit its stride and become a real team.

“I think that once we all find our footing this new iteration will be able to do the same,” Weaver said.

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