‘We have a lot to look forward to in Hopewell Township’

Uma Purandare becomes first deputy mayor of Indian descent

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Committeewoman Courtney Peters-Manning (center) Photo courtesy of Courtney Peters-Manning

With Mercer County Executive Dan Benson swearing them in, Hopewell Township now has a new mayor and deputy mayor for 2024.

Courtney Peters-Manning returns to the mayoral position she had previously held in 2022 and will be joined by Uma Purandare, who was elected the township’s first deputy mayor. She is the township’s first deputy mayor of Indian descent.

“We live in a big, beautiful community be that Hopewell Township, the state of New Jersey, or the United States of America. There are people of all races, religions, identities and beliefs and our community is growing,” Peters-Manning said.

“As our community grows with neighborhoods around the township being built, we can embrace our new neighbors with the kind of open mindedness that will make our whole Hopewell Valley stronger.”

Photo courtesy of Courtney Peters-Manning
Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning (center) with family by her side on Jan 3.

Benson also swore in Committeemen Michael Ruger and Kevin Kuchinski as they begin another three-year term on the Township Committee.

Both Ruger and Kuchinski have also previously served as mayor.

Ruger nominated Peters-Manning for mayor and with no other nominations made by fellow Committee members she was unanimously elected mayor for 2024.

“We on the Township Committee are actively working to manage and plan for the changes that will come with our growing community and the revenue that will come from the agreements we have with the developers of the new neighborhoods will help us fund the improvements that will be needed,” Peters-Manning added.

She noted that the township in partnership with the Hopewell Valley Regional School District funded a demographic study confirming no new school building will be needed. She also announced a new liaison appointment to the school district, who will continue with open communication with the district.

“We also funded a planning study with the fire district to determine the current and future fire and emergency medical services (EMS) needs for the township,” Peters-Manning said adding the police department is increasing staffing to keep up with the township’s growth.

With the opening of BeiGene’s clinical research center and its commercial revenue in the township, a new senior and community center breaking ground this year, and the bandshell in Woolsey Park opening for its first concert in the spring, “we have a lot to look forward to in Hopewell Township in 2024 and I look forward to getting to work with all of you,” Peters-Manning said.

Peters-Manning nominated Purandare to become the township’s next deputy mayor. She was unanimously elected to the position.

Purandare was the first Township Committee member of Indian descent to be elected by township voters to the governing body in 2021 and is currently in her first term.

Photo courtesy of Uma Purandare
Deputy Mayor Uma Purandare (left) being sworn-in by Mercer County Executive Dan Benson (right).

“I’m thankful to my fellow Committee members for trusting me to serve as deputy mayor. I’m honored and privileged to work with dedicated and talented officials to make Hopewell Township a place for all,” Purandare said.

“Thirty years ago, I moved halfway across the world from my small rural town in India. Hopewell immediately welcomed my family and me. This town is an extraordinary one with a rich history and tradition of embracing diversity and inclusion.”

Purandare noted that having lived in the township for more than 25 years she recognizes the township is undergoing many changes.

“But I am confident that this community will extend the same warm welcome to all new residents from all ages, all cultures, and all ethnic backgrounds,” she added.

The five-member Township Committee consists of Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning, Deputy Mayor Uma Purandare, Committeeman David Chait, Committeeman Michael Ruger, and Committeeman Kevin Kuchinski.