This Candidate's Statement was originally published in the Westfield Leader on Aug. 10, 2023

Ever since I joined the town council last year, I have been a champion of smart growth. I supported One Westfield Place precisely because it checked every box for a smart growth project.

That’s why I’m pleased that One Westfield Place is one of 10 honorees in New Jersey to receive a 2023 Smart Growth Award from New Jersey Future, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes sensible and equitable growth, redevelopment, and infrastructure investments.

Over the years, New Jersey Future has advocated for policies that reduce traffic congestion, halt the loss of farmland and open space in the rural parts of the state and encourage growth in areas of the state where physical and social infrastructure already

Smart growth has already brought new economic vitality and renewal to neighboring communities like Cranford and Fanwood. Cranford Crossing, the township’s first major redevelopment project at the corner of South Avenue and South Union Avenue, won a Smart Growth Award nearly two decades ago. Fanwood won a smart growth award for its downtown revitalization in 2014.

Projects being considered for a Smart Growth Award are judged by a panel of experts based on a variety of criteria, including whether it is near existing development and infrastructure, whether it creates or enhances a vibrant mix of uses, creates or enhances
connects to existing development, creates or enhances transportation choices that reduce the need to drive, improves resilience to climate change, fosters walkability and activities at the street level. One Westfield Place certainly meets all the criteria.

Another important criterion is whether the planning process involved the community and this is where we really shine. One Westfield Place encouraged community input throughout
the process, including the preview center on Elm Street, where residents had the opportunity to view a scaled model of the project, speak directly to the developer and provide feedback on the plans. As a result, numerous suggested changes are being incorporated in the final plans.

For me, One Westfield Place is a model smart growth project. It is compact and transit oriented. It offers a variety of housing options, including affordable housing and features design elements that pay homage to our town’s historic character.

The project will transform a vast asphalt parking lot into vibrant office space whose workers will shop in our downtown during the day. At the now vacant space previously occupied by Lord & Taylor, the developers plan to preserve and repurpose the mid-20th Century building while adding additional residences for people 55 and older.

Residents of One Westfield Place will be able to easily walk to our downtown to patronize our restaurants and stores, while keeping their cars off our streets, resulting in fewer
greenhouse gas emissions from cars and more pedestrians on our sidewalks.

It’s clear to me why planning experts from around the state gave One Westfield Place an award for smart growth.

Emily Root


Westfield First Ward Councilwoman