Positions filled, projects ongoing in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, NJ — On July 10, Springfield’s township administrator Ed Fanning retired from his position after 15 years of service. Springfield’s Deputy Township Clerk MaryEllen Brennan told LocalSource that Township Clerk Linda Donnelly temporarily filled the role until three weeks ago, when Ziad Shehady was hired to fill the position. Donnelly informed LocalSource that she was not authorized to speak about this issue, and suggested LocalSource speak to Shehady, who did not answer the phone. Shehady was a former member of the township committee and serves as the deputy mayor for Springfield.

Shehady became deputy mayor in 2009. He served in the military for 13 years. He graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Arts in politics and French linguistics. Shehady is a longtime resident of Springfield and has served on many boards and committees throughout his career.

“I believe in duty and selfless service,” Shehady said in a statement on his website. “My actions, as demonstrated, speak much louder than words. I possess a strong work ethic and dedication to my fellow citizens. Springfield deserves an elected official who’s willing to devote time and energy to create positive changes in our community.”

In 2010 and 2012, Shehady served as mayor and chairman of the Township Committee. He’s also served on the Public Safety and Public Works subcommittees. He’s currently a member of Springfield’s Planning Board and Board of Health.

In 2010, Shehady worked with Mayor Jerry Fernandez to create a Business Improvement District that would form a private-public partnership with commercial property owners, businesses, residents and township officials. The designation has been used successfully around the state and in nearby communities to revitalize business districts. Shehady and Fernandez voted along with Committeeman Marc Krauss to begin the formation of the Springfield Business Improvement District in August 2010. When contacted by LocalSource, Shehady, Fernandez and Krauss were unavailable for comment.

The Business Improvement District focuses on several short-term and long-term facets including visual improvement, maintenance, public space streetscapes, promotions, marketing, liaising with the Township Committee and planning. Thus far, all of their initiatives have been successful and have improved business in Springfield.

Two years later, the Business Improvement District forged a relationship with stakeholders and raised funds to take the lead on redevelopment.

Representatives of the Springfield Business Improvement
District met with township officials to begin work on downtown redevelopment projects.

At the Springfield Business Improvement District monthly meeting held Aug. 16, the board provided an update on the Mountain Avenue Streetscaping Project. The project was expected to break ground the week of Aug. 22, and was to last between four and six weeks. The project entails new sidewalks, decorative pavers, lighting, waste receptacles, planters and landscaping. Such improvements will emphasize and highlight the business community on Mountain Avenue and tie in the businesses together with a common aesthetic theme. The improvements will also encourage a more pedestrian-friendly business district.

No officials were available for comment about the completion of the streetscaping project as of press time.