Elected officials and residents at the Dec. 2 Highland Park Borough Council meeting offered heartfelt congratulations to those staff members and volunteers who enabled the municipality to be the recipient of two prestigious awards at the recent NJ League of Municipalities Conference. Out of the 565 municipalities in New Jersey, Highland Park was the only municipality to win two awards for municipal excellence: the Innovation in Governance Award and the Best in Visual Media Recognition.
Highland Park’s Park Partners Community Grant Program was the reason for the Innovation in Governance Award. Park Partners was created in 2013 to encourage the Borough’s civic-minded residents to contribute their ideas and skills to help make improvements or changes to the town. The program awards up to five grants to individuals or organizations within Highland Park to create and execute a program to benefit the community. The grants are divided into five categories that represent important values for Highland Park: Environment, Arts, Culture & Diversity, Safety, and Universal Access or Health & Wellness. Each recipient can receive up to $2000 to complete the project, and the projects must be completed within one year of receiving the grant.
Highland Park’s Cable Television Station HPTV was recognized as the Best Visual Media in the Rutgers Public Information Contest. HPTV has been an integral part of the borough’s communications efforts since 1996. Programming runs 10 to 12 hours a day on a variety of informative and relevant topics. Borough meetings are shown each month, and a bulletin board of events runs in between programming. Emergency management and public safety officials note that HPTV is a very important vehicle for emergency announcements. In addition, HPTV has been a communications lifeline for those individuals in town who lack computer or internet access.
Highland Park Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler accepted the awards on behalf of the borough at the League of Municipalities Conference two weeks ago. “ It truly was an honor to be recognized with both highly sought after ‘Innovation in Government’ award for our Park Partners give-back program and for the accomplishment of our HPTV and Public Information committees striving to present a transparent government in high quality graphics,” she said.
The community has no intention of resting on its laurels. Awards are great, but action is better and “Highland Park prides itself on its continual growth and advancement in communications and business development. Our recent Complete Streets designation is part of our ongoing efforts as a Destination Walking Community for central New Jersey and beyond, and the expansion of our Communications Department has enabled us to increase our efforts to connect with our residents,” said the mayor.