Mayor’s Message: ‘What a year 2020 has been’

In her last Mayor's Message of 2020, Nicole Gillespie reflects on the past year.

By NICOLE GILLESPIE, Mayor of Moorestown

This will be my last mayor’s message of the year, and what a year 2020 has been. A year ago, COVID-19 really wasn’t part of our everyday vocabulary. When we entered lockdown in March, I certainly wasn’t expecting that we’d still be social distancing and wearing masks nine months later. And while there is light at the end of the tunnel (vaccines are on the way), we’re currently experiencing the highest number of daily new cases since this all started, so we’ll need to keep up the safety measures a while longer.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has seemed to overshadow almost everything else this past year, there have been bright spots as well. To my mind, one of the best things that happened this year was the way Moorestonians came together again and again to help those in need. We helped keep local food banks supplied, bought and delivered groceries and other items to those who couldn’t leave their homes, delivered handmade cards to our neighbors in senior and assisted living facilities and donated a record number of turkeys and pies in the Moorestown Home and School Association’s annual Thanksgiving drive.

In addition to (hopefully) the end of the pandemic, 2021 will bring some other changes as well. At the end of this month, Council members Locatell, Napolitano and Petriello will complete their terms on Moorestown Township Council. Combined, they had a total of 17 years of service on council, and Moorestown is better off because they chose to step up and serve. I am deeply grateful for their contributions and all they have taught me over the past two years. Please join me in thanking them for all their hard work over the years and wishing them the best in their future endeavors.

I’m looking forward to continuing my service on Township Council next year, and welcoming three new council members: Sue Mammarella, Jake Van Dyken and Dave Zipin. They will be sworn in at our reorganization meeting, Jan. 4 beginning at 7 p.m. We’re still working out the details, but we know that in-person attendance will — at best — be very limited. However, livestream viewing will be available, along with the option to email or call in comments and questions (directions for doing so will be on the agenda, which will be available on https://www.moorestown.nj.us/ by Jan. 2.)

One of the things the council does every year at the reorganization meeting is make appointments to township boards and committees, and there is still time to apply if you are interested in serving. You can read more about Moorestown’s boards and committees in our Township code (https://www.ecode360.com/MO1116 — Chapter 6, article V for boards and article VII for committees.) Please consider submitting a Citizen Leadership form (https://bit.ly/MoorestownCitizenLeadership) if you are interested in serving, and if you have any questions about a specific board or committee, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at mayor@moorestown.nj.us.

This holiday season is likely going to look a lot different than any of us wanted or planned, but I’ve been inspired by all the ways Moorestonians have found to support each other, stay connected and keep each other safe throughout this whole ordeal. We’ll get through this together, we just need to hang in there for a while longer! Wishing all of Moorestown the happiest of holidays and looking forward to a better year in 2021!