From the Skylands to the seashore, 22 New Jersey municipalities spanning 14 counties have been chosen for going above and past to deal with neighborhood well being wants this previous 12 months.
They vary from one of many state’s tiniest boroughs to its second and third-largest cities.
Eight have been named “2020 Wholesome Cities,” the highest honor. They have been: Asbury Park, Evesham Township, Montclair, Paterson, Plainfield, Scotch Plains, Wildwood Crest, and Woodbridge.
9 have been designated as “2020 Wholesome Cities to Watch”: Bay Head, Denville, Franklin Lakes, Freehold Borough, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Jersey Metropolis, Norwood, and Vernon.
5 have been named “2020 Wholesome Cities Up-and-Coming”: Highlands, Lawrence Township, Morristown, Princeton, and Willingboro.
The Mayors Wellness Marketing campaign made the alternatives from over 400 taking part communities in its “Wholesome Cities” initiative. The New Jersey Well being Care High quality Institute launched the initiative in 2006 in partnership with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.
Municipalities collaborating within the initiative full a Wholesome City utility every year outlining analysis they’ve accomplished to establish their public well being wants and actions taken to deal with these wants. This 12 months’s marketing campaign gave particular emphasis to addressing meals insecurity, serving to residents keep bodily and mentally energetic, and different actions geared toward mitigating the consequences of COVID-19 and authorities’s response to it.
The honorees are listed beneath in alphabetical order.
1. ASBURY PARK — Wholesome City
Like many shore cities, this seaside metropolis well-known for its sandy seashores and boardwalk amusements took an financial hit from the pandemic however overcame these obstacles to earn prime honors on this 12 months’s “Wholesome City” contest.
Town, along with supporting native meals pantries, labored with county well being officers to offer COVID-19 testing for metropolis and county residents. It additionally arrange a Ryde4Life program providing free on-demand transportation by means of Lyft and Uber to senior residents, individuals with disabilities and others needing a trip to physician appointments and meals buying.
“The designation of the Metropolis of Asbury Park as a Wholesome City represents a end result of years of exhausting work by our Mayors Wellness Committee members, neighborhood organizations, well being care companions and residents to advertise a tradition of well being and energetic life for all of Asbury Park,” mentioned Mayor John Moor.
2. BAY HEAD Wholesome City to Watch
This shore city, one of many state’s smallest communities by inhabitants, homes one of many state’s largest historic districts. Taking in additional than half the city’s buildings, a lot of the district was spared from the worst of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy by a stone rubble seawall inbuilt 1882.
Like its bigger neighbors, the tiny borough wasn’t spared from the pandemic however nonetheless got here up massive for its 1,000 residents by shifting to a digital platform on quick discover and making a well being and wellness web site providing up-to-date sources and knowledge. Doing so enabled it to proceed important well being and wellness programming whereas adjusting in-person occasions to remain compliant with state laws.
“What makes me so very proud is that we now have accomplished all of our actions with volunteers,” mentioned Mayor Invoice Curtis. “Our volunteers reside in Bay Head, take pleasure in Bay Head, have a ardour for wellness and are keen to attempt new packages that contain all residents and guests.”
3. DENVILLE — Wholesome City to Watch
Nicknamed the “Hub of Morris County” for its central location and proximity to main highways and rail transportation, this charming bed room neighborhood was previously utilized by Lenape Native People to traverse a path roughly paralleling modern-day Route 10.
Through the pandemic, Denville used its outside areas and digital platforms to supply musical theater and artwork for its youth and senior yoga for older adults, improvements that helped it make the “Wholesome Cities to Watch” record for the second 12 months in a row.
A neighborhood backyard additionally inspired wholesome consuming and helped hold individuals’s spirits up.
“Because of our recreation director and committee, regardless of the restrictions attributable to COVID-19, Denville was in a position to stay energetic and I’m delighted that Denville has been named a Wholesome City to Watch,” mentioned Mayor Tom Andes.
4. EVESHAM TOWNSHIP — Wholesome City
The U.S. Military operated a missile protection facility on this once-rural township to protect the Philadelphia space from assault throughout the Chilly Conflict. But regardless of its significance to the area on the time, highway indicators and even the native publish workplace nonetheless seek advice from this Philadelphia suburb as Marlton, a historic village throughout the township.
Throughout final 12 months’s pandemic, Evesham Township partnered with well being care suppliers to supply packages on dealing with stress. It additionally shaped a volunteer Human Rights Council to “bolster the rising variety of People throughout the nation becoming a member of the battle towards inequality and injustice.”
“Certainly one of my prime priorities as mayor is to offer residents of all talents the chance to keep up nice bodily and psychological well being by means of use of our excellent services and packages,” mentioned Mayor Jackie Veasy. “I’m particularly proud we earned the Wholesome City distinction for our work throughout 2020.”
5.FRANKLIN LAKES — Wholesome City to Watch
This scenic borough and residential to Becton Dickinson, a Fortune 500 firm, launched an “At House Actions and Challenges” program in partnership with the native library to maintain college students actively engaged regardless of the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders.
This system grew and ended up pulling in companies, workers, households, athletes and senior residents, all of whom loved partaking within the contests and video games.
“Franklin Lakes is as soon as once more honored to be named a Wholesome City to Watch by High quality Institute, particularly throughout a 12 months when the unprecedented pandemic disrupted on a regular basis norms and programming,” Mayor Frank Bivona mentioned.
6. FREEHOLD BOROUGH — Wholesome City to Watch
Website of the 1778 Battle of Monmouth Courthouse, one of many largest battles of the Revolutionary Conflict, the present-day county seat of Monmouth County took on one other battle final 12 months by confronting the meals insecurity that stricken many residents within the pandemic’s early phases.
Inside every week, “Freehold Meals Security Internet” raised $27,000 and offered 3,200 meals to college students and households final spring at a time when no school-based meals have been accessible.
Native eating places offered extra meals, which volunteers helped ship to homebound residents and seniors. This system additionally delivered 1000’s of recent produce packing containers and arrange a 10-week voucher program by means of the native Farmers Market, which offered over 700 individuals with vouchers totaling practically $37,000.
“We’re justifiably happy with our little city the place we have a good time our variety, respect and assist one another, and work collectively to create a protected, wholesome and progressive neighborhood the place our youngsters, our seniors, and our households can thrive and be comfortable,” Mayor Kevin Kane mentioned.
7. HIGHLANDS — Wholesome City Up-and-Coming
Named for its excessive bluff overlooking Sandy Hook and the Atlantic Ocean, residents of this onetime summer time playground for New York socialites confirmed their pluck by working exhausting to beat losses suffered because of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy.
Shortly earlier than the pandemic started, the borough started gathering information from residents to gauge their well being wants. Prime considerations included psychological well being, substance dependancy, and different wants particular to older people and seniors. The borough is continuous to make use of the data to focus on the psychological, dietary and bodily well being wants of its residents.
“We solely had a couple of occasions accomplished when the pandemic shutdown occurred,” mentioned Mayor Carolyn Broullon. “We rapidly shifted to all outside and socially distant actions. With the ability to obtain this standing for the primary time, throughout the pandemic, is a testomony to our dedication to the well being and well-being of our residents and our neighborhood.”
8. HILLSBOROUGH — Wholesome City to Watch
Through the Second World Conflict, this once-rural township housed a facility for Italian and German POWs together with a storage depot for battle supplies. It additionally housed the longtime property of tobacco and power tycoon James “Buck” Duke and his daughter Doris Duke, the place it stays as we speak as a preserved pure space.
Through the pandemic, the township used its social media and digital platforms to promote and maintain occasions together with health lessons, senior walks, and a drive-through well being truthful. The township additionally continued worker wellness packages to maintain its workers energetic and wholesome.
“We’re honored to be acknowledged as a Wholesome City to Watch,” mentioned Mayor Shawn Lipani. “Dwelling an energetic and wholesome life-style is necessary and we’re trying ahead to extra initiatives by means of this system for 2021.”
9. JEFFERSON — Wholesome City to Watch
Because the northernmost municipality in Morris County, scenic Jefferson is house to numerous lakes, parks and trails. It was named for Thomas Jefferson, who was president on the time of the township’s creation in 1804.
Along with utilizing social media to maintain its residents up to date about COVID-19, the township partnered with neighborhood organizations to supply summer time outside yoga lessons and academic packages on advance care planning, psychological well being and suicide prevention.
“We’re ecstatic to affect our residents to make constructive and wholesome habits adjustments by means of quite a lot of packages provided with the Mayors Wellness Marketing campaign,” mentioned Mayor Eric Wilsusen.
10. JERSEY CITY — Wholesome City to Watch
Because the state’s second largest metropolis, Jersey Metropolis is house to one of many nation’s largest monetary districts exterior New York Metropolis, accounting for its nickname as “Wall Avenue West.” However its historical past goes again a lot farther.
Previous to the Civil Conflict, 1000’s of enslaved individuals made their solution to freedom alongside 4 routes of the Underground Railroad that ran by means of right here.
At present Jersey Metropolis is continuous to sort out a variety of well being considerations for its numerous inhabitants. Through the pandemic, the town collected and distributed 24,000 fabric masks and 250,000 face shields. The “Stitching Angels,” a bunch of volunteer highschool college students, additionally up to date 2,500 N95 masks for distribution to metropolis well being suppliers.
“Jersey Metropolis is proud to be a frontrunner in implementing modern options and insurance policies to assist city areas like ours to beat the systematic points which have plagued underserved communities for a lot too lengthy,” mentioned Mayor Steven Fulop. “This pandemic has disproportionately affected the extra economically challenged areas and exacerbated societal points, which is why we’re dedicated to increasing our efforts.”
11. LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP — Wholesome City Up-and-Coming
Based by Quaker settlers in 1697, the township was renamed in 1816 for Captain James Lawrence, a New Jersey-born naval hero of the Conflict of 1812 whose dying command was “Do not hand over the ship!”
The township was acknowledged extra just lately for conserving residents engaged, open air and energetic throughout the pandemic by means of such choices as “Artwork within the Park” lessons, an annual fishing derby, and hula hoop lessons for seniors. A Yard Campout Evening, full with giveaways of s’mores, flashlights and different provides, inspired households to pitch a tent within the yard and benefit from the open air.
“Serving to residents to a extra energetic and more healthy life-style and enhancing the general wellness of our neighborhood takes dedication and creativity,” mentioned Mayor James Kownacki. “Throughout a pandemic, these challenges are magnified ten occasions over. I provide a heartfelt ‘thanks’ to our recreation and well being departments for his or her exhausting work in our residents’ service.”
12. MONTCLAIR — Wholesome City
House to Montclair State College and its on-campus museum honoring the late Yogi Berra, one in all its most well-known residents, Montclair obtained “Wholesome City” honors for the third 12 months in a row.
Whereas persevering with its beforehand launched well being and wellness packages, the township expanded distant entry to those packages for older adults. It additionally provided meals distribution to residents over 60 so they may keep safely of their properties. By way of a Group Farms Coalition, the township took extra steps to maintain residents energetic whereas addressing meals insecurity.
“Sustaining a wholesome and energetic life-style is at all times necessary, however now particularly,” mentioned Mayor Sean Spiller. “There have been challenges alongside the way in which, however the township with the assistance of our neighborhood companions has been in a position to provide quite a lot of actions for individuals of all ages, each within the bodily and digital spheres. The well-being of our residents is of important significance and we’re proud to have met the challenges to be as soon as once more honored.”
13. MORRISTOWN — Wholesome City Up-and-Coming
Throughout George Washington’s winter encampment right here within the Revolutionary Conflict, native church buildings in Morristown did double responsibility as smallpox inoculation facilities.
Final 12 months Morristown as soon as once more helped stem a pandemic by pivoting rapidly to offer each day video updates associated to COVID-19. Along with encouraging residents to put on masks and take heed to their well being selections, Morristown addressed the rise in meals insecurity by gathering over 6,000 kilos of meals by means of neighborhood meals drives.
“I’m extremely happy with this accomplishment as a result of it demonstrates to all of us right here in Morristown what makes our city nice,” mentioned Mayor Timothy Dougherty.
“Our thriving downtown consists of each delicacies you possibly can consider with scores of wholesome cafes, health studios, and actions. We’re house to lovely parks and historic landmarks price venturing by means of, and golf equipment and occasions that promote a wholesome life-style for all residents. Dwelling in Morristown breeds a wholesome life-style, and in flip, that life-style breeds a wholesome Morristown.”
14. NORWOOD — Wholesome City to Watch
Taking its identify from the “North Woods” of Bergen County, the world often known as Norwood went by means of a number of border adjustments beginning within the 1700s earlier than lastly establishing itself as an unbiased borough in 1905.
A primary-time honoree of the Mayors Wellness Marketing campaign, the borough’s achievements final 12 months included internet hosting its first annual Norwood Day, a free occasion that inspired residents to eat wholesome meals whereas spending time safely in nature and the outside. The occasion included health-focused meals vehicles, yoga instruction, bodily therapists and different holistically oriented well being professionals. Residents had entry to those companies whereas remaining socially distanced.
“Our Wholesome Norwood Initiative will proceed to carry packages and actions to our residents that shall be useful in all aspects of well-being,” mentioned Mayor James P. Barsa.
“We are going to use all of our sources, which embrace our parks, climbing trails, neighborhood middle, and native companies that concentrate on wellness to carry numerous, enjoyable, and academic occasions to crucial a part of Norwood, the individuals who reside right here.”
15. PATERSON — Wholesome City
As soon as often known as “Silk Metropolis” for its function as a number one producer of silk and textiles, Paterson is the state’s third largest metropolis and takes its identify from William Paterson, a signer of the Structure and New Jersey’s second governor.
It was Alexander Hamilton, nonetheless, who foresaw the town’s early development as a manufacturing middle and cradle of the Industrial Revolution and the significance of the Nice Falls of the Passaic River as a catalyst to this development.
In January 2020, Mayor Andre Sayegh kicked off the “Mayor’s Stroll to the Nice Falls,” an occasion that noticed greater than 200 residents and schoolchildren accompany him on a bunch stroll from Metropolis Corridor to Paterson Nice Falls Nationwide Historic Park. The occasion was broadcast on Fb Reside so these unable to take part may nonetheless witness it. The mayor’s spouse, Farhanna Sayegh, can be a champion of the Wholesome Cities program and has held ladies’s exercises in her yard.
“Our focus has been on the psychological and bodily well being of Patersonians and the way the Mayors Wellness Marketing campaign may assist conquer COVID-19,” the mayor mentioned. “We’re honored that our efforts have been acknowledged.”
16. PLAINFIELD — Wholesome City
With regards to wholesome residing, Plainfield could have been forward of its time.
Its historic nickname as “The Queen Metropolis,” the truth is, happened in response to its local weather and air high quality that some perceived as useful to these with respiratory situations. In 1886, a native newspaper writer started selling Plainfield because the “Colorado of the East.” Taking its cues from Denver, often known as the “Queen Metropolis of the Plains,” Plainfield started calling itself merely “The Queen Metropolis.”
Having obtained the Wholesome City designation for the third 12 months in a row, Plainfield and its officers are persevering with updates on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Town additionally has continued to supply dietary counseling to metropolis workers together with blood strain, diabetes, ldl cholesterol, and lead screenings for residents.
The Mayors Wellness Committee cited the town for recognizing the function these public well being determinants can play in heading off the worst results of the pandemic.
17. PRINCETON — Wholesome City Up-and-Coming
House to the world-renowned Ivy League college that bears its identify, Princeton redoubled its public well being efforts final 12 months with contact tracing, flu vaccine clinics, and an emergency job power that continues to watch the response to COVID-19.
Princeton’s well being division additionally has constructed upon its partnerships with native nonprofits, colleges, the enterprise neighborhood and others to reinforce public well being training and mitigate virus transmission.
“By way of partaking with modern, digital well being communication instruments, in addition to using important neighborhood partnerships, our well being division has been in a position to attain Princeton residents in an equitable, environment friendly method — an achievement that we’re actually happy with and can proceed to work towards enhancing,” mentioned Mayor Mark Freda.
18. SCOTCH PLAINS — Wholesome City
From 1921 to 1964, Scotch Hills Nation Membership was often known as Shady Relaxation Golf and Nation Membership – the primary black-owned and African American golf and nation membership in the USA.
Shady Relaxation was house to John Shippen – the primary African-American skilled golfer. The membership additionally performed host to a number of the period’s most outstanding musicians corresponding to Duke Ellington, Depend Basie, Billie Vacation and lots of others.
In 1964, the township of Scotch Plains acquired the Shady Relaxation Golf and Nation Membership, opening it to the general public and renaming it Scotch Hills Nation Membership. Whereas the identify may need modified, the previous Shady Relaxation clubhouse nonetheless stays. To be taught extra in regards to the historical past of Shady Relaxation Golf and Nation Membership, please go to: preserveshadyrest.org.
For over 40 years, Scotch Plains hosted the nation’s first Black-owned golf and nation membership, Shady Relaxation Nation Membership. The membership was house to John Shippen, the
Scotch Plains holds the excellence of getting hosted the nation’s first nation membership for Black members. An area middle for Black tradition within the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties, the previous Shady Relaxation Nation Membership is preserved as we speak because the Scotch Hills Municipal course.
Extra just lately, Scotch Plains earned the excellence of receiving its third Wholesome City award in as a few years. By way of partnerships with native colleges, parks, companies, health facilities and the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA, the township has provided packages corresponding to Dawn Yoga Saturdays. It additionally has continued to sponsor vitamin challenges, neighborhood 5K races, and the Scotch Plains Farmers Market.
Mayor Josh Losardo credited his predecessor, former Mayor Al Smith, with setting forth numerous these initiatives, which the township continues to construct on with help from the administration and council.
“We’re dedicated to selling wholesome behaviors, with a robust give attention to enhancing our public parks and increasing leisure alternatives, in addition to internet hosting town-wide occasions that encourage interplay and additional builds our neighborhood,” Losardo mentioned.
19.VERNON — Wholesome City to Watch
House to ski slopes, a waterpark, the Appalachian Path, and one other path that locals name the “Stairway to Heaven,” Vernon was beforehand chosen by on-line journey firm Expedia because the state’s greatest vacation spot for nature lovers.
Previous to the pandemic, the township additionally started providing guided hikes and sponsoring the annual “Trails of Vernon Problem,” a self-paced exercise geared toward encouraging hikers from rookies to superior to find the township’s many scenic trails.
A few of these actions took a again seat throughout the pandemic because the township turned its focus to addressing meals insecurity by means of curbside to-go meals at its Senior Heart vitamin web site, offering weak populations entry to wholesome meals. A protected, accessible, coated outside seating space additionally was provided, offering much-needed socialization at a time when such alternatives have been few and much between for some individuals. Mountain Creek Resort, which has partnered with the township on varied recreation initiatives prior to now, additionally stepped up by holding a weekly drive-up meals pantry.
Because the pandemic winds down, the township is trying to higher days forward with plans for brand new leisure facilities together with a bicycle pump monitor and added trails.
“This honor wouldn’t have been potential with out the host of volunteers who serve our city on municipal committees such because the Board of Recreation, the Beautification Committee, the Greenway Motion Advisory Committee, the Financial Improvement Advisory Committee, the Environmental Fee, and the Senior Citizen Committee,” mentioned Mayor Howard Burrell.
“To make our city a fair higher and more healthy place to reside, we’re within the early phases of planning an exquisite new city middle strolling and biking path — all a part of our efforts to maneuver Vernon ahead.”
20. WILDWOOD CREST — Wholesome City
Wildwood Crest offered a backdrop for a lot of a household trip for individuals who got here of age within the latter twentieth century, a lot in order that a few of its motels at the moment are listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations.
Like different shore cities, Wildwood Crest wasn’t resistant to the financial hit wrought by the pandemic however nonetheless managed to earn its first Wholesome City recognition.
With a give attention to stress discount and constructing wholesome our bodies and minds, the borough provided livestream train lessons and month-to-month wellness challenges by means of its Fb web page associated to food regimen and vitamin, stress aid, train, hygiene, self-care and training. Individuals earned factors for partaking within the varied initiatives, which led to constructive on-line discussions.
“Since beginning our program in 2019, our Mayors Wellness Marketing campaign has obtained overwhelming participation and help from our residents, municipal workers, vacationers, and companions,” mentioned Mayor Don Cabrera. “I prolong a heartfelt thanks to our wellness committee and recreation workers for serving to to hold out the mission of wellness all through our neighborhood, particularly throughout a pandemic. We’re simply getting began.”
21. WILLINGBORO — Wholesome City Up-and-Coming
Within the late Nineteen Fifties, Willingboro underwent a large housing increase that had it slated to develop into the third Levittown following related tasks by the namesake developer on New York’s Lengthy Island and in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, confusion with the close by city of Levittown, Pa., prompted a reputation change again to the unique Willingboro in 1963.
Overshadowing all this development was the stain of racial discrimination: A landmark New Jersey Supreme Court docket case by a Black man, a U.S. Military officer who had confronted discrimination in his try and buy a house in Willingboro, led to the implementation of wide-scale integration efforts right here beginning round 1960.
Sixty years later, the township has a lot to be happy with after being acknowledged just lately as an up-and-comer within the “Wholesome Cities” program. Along with providing wholesome meals and vitamin info to its residents, the township has created a neighborhood backyard that can additional allow them to develop wholesome meals sources.
“In 2020, we revisited how we reply to the entire individual and elevated our meals drives and strengthened partnerships with businesses to offer COVID-19 testing, flu pictures, psychological well being companies and extra,” mentioned Mayor Tiffani Worthy.
“The racially motivated incidents that transpired in cities throughout the nation required us to additionally take additional steps to strengthen the connection between residents and law enforcement officials, which generated a collection of citizen boards about Twenty first-century policing hosted by Willingboro Police Division. We stay up for 2021 being one other wholesome 12 months in Willingboro for all of our residents.”
22. WOODBRIDGE — Wholesome City
Because the oldest authentic township in New Jersey, Woodbridge made historical past once more in 1982 when it grew to become the primary neighborhood in the USA to ban public use of Sony Walkman cassette gamers whereas crossing the road, driving a motorcycle or driving a automotive.
Meant as a security measure, the legislation was a forerunner to later legal guidelines coping with mobile phone use whereas driving.
When the pandemic took maintain final 12 months, Woodbridge rapidly shifted to a digital platform, the place it offered packages centered on psychological and bodily well being. It then took on meals insecurity with meals collections that enabled it to offer meals to these most in want.
“2020 was a nerve-racking 12 months for a lot of, so our Mayors Wellness Staff helped put an emphasis on bodily and psychological wellness by persevering with to supply quite a lot of programming to our neighborhood whereas following all security protocols,” mentioned Mayor John McCormac.
“We’re honored to be designated one in all New Jersey’s Wholesome Cities.”