Accomplishments

A Record of Leadership in South Orange
A Record of Results for South Orange

Sheena believes when promises are made, promises need to be kept. When she first ran for Village President in 2015, she unveiled a comprehensive platform of goals and objectives which serve as the strategic plan for her tenure in office. Below are select highlights on a variety of topics and issues of concern to the community.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND HIGHLIGHTS:

Financial Management and Service Optimization

Comprehensive Planning and Land Use

  • Launched a comprehensive update to the South Orange Master Plan (first developed in 1978), recruiting more than 150 community ambassadors to facilitate robust public engagement and ensure inclusion and participation.
  • Created framework to ensure final product will include a 21stcentury approach to land use, community form and design, mobility, historic preservation, recreation and open space, health and sustainability, and a new element entitled “civic life”.

Economic Development

  • Negotiated more than $150M in new investments to business districts grounded by smart-growth principles, active storefronts, and new revenue. These efforts will help shift the tax burden from homeowners to commercial corridors.
  • Lobbied Trenton for liquor license reforms that will create access and opportunities for restauranteurs to provide beer and wine in a historically cost-prohibitive monopoly while providing fair compensation to existing license holders in the form of tax credits.

Redevelopment

  • Hired a new planning firm and ensured all agreements include development proformas with vetted financial forecasting that serve in the best interest of taxpayers and good planning.
  • Audited all prior redevelopment projects, resulting in $500k in revenue.
  • Negotiated over $750,000 in community reinvestment from developers.
  • Evaluated and rejected more than a dozen redevelopment projects that were disadvantageous to the community in terms of planning, design, equity, or financial terms that didn’t benefit taxpayers.

Affordable Housing

  • Developed a path to affordable housing compliance with state requirements, quadrupling developer contributions to be used for the construction of affordable units.
  • Eliminated past practice of artificially identifying land that was never intended to be developed.
  • Actively negotiating a project with potential to yield more credits to South Orange than any single project in the Village’s history. If successful, this project would serve both our special-needs individuals, and lower/moderate income families.

Small Businesses

Open Space & Historic Preservation

Commuters and NJ Transit

Senior Services

Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness

Cultivating Community

Facilities

  • Upgraded the Baird tennis courts and dedicated them to Kenneth Allen Graham, a life-long South Orange resident who taught and championed tennis.
  • Renovated the neglected Skate House including roof and window replacements, new bathrooms, and a heated and air-conditioned space for community use.
  • Started construction on Police Headquarters with renovations expected to finish this year, after years of abysmal working conditions including mold.
  • Scheduled construction on the Baird Community Center to start this this Spring with a full interior and exterior renovation. Additional improvements include the construction of a new field house/gym, café, and game room. Plans include increased community multi-purpose spaces to accommodate more users seeking to host meetings and events.
  • Professional service contracts awarded for the renovation and expansion of the public library and historic Connett Building with a working group appointed to make recommendations on how to proceed forward.

Seton Hall University

Public Schools

Water Utility

Communication

  • Launched new website to improve the user experience, ease access to information, and enhance customer service.
  • Provides timely responses to all constituents across multiple channels including email, phone calls, Facebook, Twitter, Maplewood Online, NextDoor, etc.
  • Regularly hosts public, neighborhood, and stakeholder meetings to ensure maximum participation and transparency in decision-making.

Pets and Animals

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