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Home Featured ‘The opportunity to be serving as your mayor has been a privilege’

‘The opportunity to be serving as your mayor has been a privilege’

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‘The opportunity to be serving as your mayor has been a privilege’
Mark Freda received 9,315 votes to secure the office of Princeton mayor, according to the unofficial results of Tuesday’s general election. He will begin serving his four-year term on Jan. 1, 2021.

Mayor Mark Freda is seeking a second term as the mayor of the Municipality of Princeton.

Freda announced his bid for re-election to another four-year term at a Jan. 19 press conference. There is a March 25 deadline to file a nominating petition for the June 4 Democratic Party primary.

In Princeton, the mayor is directly elected by voters. In some other municipalities, the mayor is chosen from among the members of the governing body and serves in a ceremonial role.

Freda is the second mayor of the Municipality of Princeton, which was created in 2012 when the former Princeton Borough and the former Princeton Township consolidated. He succeeded former Mayor Liz Lempert, who served two terms.

Freda said he gave much thought to running for a second term. He wanted to be certain that his family would support his quest first.

At this point, Freda said, he is not aware of anyone else who would challenge him in the Democratic Party primary for mayor. When he announced plans to run for mayor four years ago, several people expressed interest but later dropped out.

“The opportunity to be serving as your mayor has been a privilege,” said Freda, who was born and raised in Princeton.

Over the past three years, his mission has been clear – “to lead with transparency, to foster open communication and to build lasting relationships within Princeton, neighboring towns and at the county, state and federal level,” Freda said.

“The progress that has been made by working together is not just a reflection of leadership, but of a collective effort and commitment.”

Freda pointed to the renegotiation of the town’s agreement with Princeton University for financial contributions. He also mentioned the creation of Experience Princeton, which is the name of the special improvement district that brings focus and action to the town’s business community and the local economy.

“We are investigating ways to improve our public transportation system, and there is an ongoing commitment to affordable housing. We have supported – and will continue to support – those in need,” Freda said.

“Many people want to live in Princeton, which puts pressure on housing prices. The question is how to balance growth and density, and still maintain the mix of people that makes the town so attractive.

“How can we encourage and/or create opportunities for middle class and missing middle housing? There will be more discussions on density – where to put it, and how much,” he said.

Princeton is an active and sustainability-conscious town, and residents like to ride their bikes and walk, he said.

Officials have been looking at pedestrian and bicycle safety on every road and sidewalk project that the town has undertaken, such as the improvements on Witherspoon Street, Freda said.

“We need to promote walking and biking more, (but) at the same time, we need to realize we are a regional destination, so cars are still coming,” he said.

Possible solutions such as remote parking, or transit between parking and shopping areas, are “all things we need to work on. It is a balancing act,” Freda said.

“My commitment to you is this – I will continue to leverage my over 40 years of experience in civic and public service to address these challenges head-on. We will work together to keep Princeton a vibrant, diverse and forward-thinking community,” he said.

Freda’s civil and public service includes helping to lead the municipal consolidation effort to combine the former Princeton Borough and Princeton Township. He served on the former Princeton Borough Council from 1986 to 1999, including five years as its president.

Freda is the president of the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, where he began volunteering more than 40 years ago. He also has been a volunteer firefighter with the Princeton Fire Department since 1974, including one year as fire chief in 1989.