Friday, June 19, 2015

Bergen Leaders Present Public Forum on Suburban Downtowns

The 2015 Class of Bergen LEADS, Bergen County’s premier civic leadership program,  
presented a Public Forum on the topic “Revitalizing and Refocusing Bergen County Suburban Downtowns” on June 9, 2015 at Bergen Community College. The Public Forum showcased the Bergen LEADS class project, which was the culmination of the 10-month learning and leadership development program managed by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.

Issues such as demographics, housing, transportation, parking and safe communities were presented and discussed, with creative solutions to current challenges presented. Several government officials attended, including Ray Cywinski, Mayor of Demarest and graduate of Bergen LEADS Class of 2010, and Freeholder Tracy Zur. The Public Forum was moderated by Francis Reiner, an accomplished professional planner, urban designer and landscape architect with more than 20 years of experience working in both the public and private sector, including the Hackensack Downtown Rehabilitation and Redevelopment Plan. The event was sponsored by Rockland Electric Company.

The 24 men and women in the Bergen LEADS Class of 2015 have met monthly since September to dissect issues, debate viewpoints and get a first-hand look at Bergen County’s infrastructure. The Forum is the culmination of the seminar year for the Class of 2015. After the Forum, the class participated in a graduation ceremony led by Bergen LEADS Seminar Co-Directors, former Bergen County Executive William “Pat” Schuber, and Volunteer Center CEO and Englewood City Councilwoman-at-Large Lynne H. Algrant.

Members of the graduating class are: Cindy Andrake, Tonice Bunting, Maria Deptula, Rhona Feimster-Vega, Beth Figman, Eric Hugo, Shonya Jordan, Blake Levine, Kimberly Lewis-Banks, Mark McKoy, Erika Monell, William Mulaney, James Narin, James O’Leary, Kristen Pakonis, Isabel Perez, Tenia Peterson, Scott Reddin, Marisa Santiago, JoAnne Seibel, Charisse Taylor, Paul Thomasset, Eric Tomaszewski and David Van Schalik.

Bergen LEADS is sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, which has successfully engaged Bergen County residents in civic life for 49 years. Bergen LEADS - led by former Bergen County Executive William “Pat” Schuber - carries on that tradition by providing an extraordinarily rich, diverse and stimulating program focusing on topical issues, leadership and community trusteeship.  Learn more at


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