To the Editor:
I am Courtney Peters-Manning, Hopewell Township Deputy Mayor for 2021. As COVID-19 continues to spread widely in the Valley, it is clear that we are in the midst of a hard winter, coming at the end of a hard, hard year. We have lost loved ones, protested injustice, and faced a tumultuous election with sharp political divisions. Our first responders—police, fire, and medical professionals— have put their lives on the line. Our essential workers have faced danger every day to allow others to stay home.
But the spring is coming, and with it will come warm weather, wide vaccine distribution, and the hope of a return to some kind of normalcy. But we need to face this hard winter first. Fortunately, we are Hopewell Township, and we can do hard things.
Our community has a great, storied history of doing hard things. After all, Hopewell Township is where George Washington landed when he and his troops crossed the Delaware River on his way to the battle of Trenton. These brave Americans faced inadequate supplies, a cold, unforgiving winter, and a deadly enemy. But they got in their watery boats and faced the hard thing with bravery, and a commitment to each other and to their uniquely American ideals.
We can defeat this virus. We have hope. We have unprecedented scientific achievement. The Hopewell Township Health Department is working with Mercer County to distribute the vaccine to eligible Valley residents as quickly as possible, but getting it to everyone will require us to be patient, and we need to stand together.
In the past year, Hopewell Township has come together in powerful ways. We have donated to the Hopewell Valley food pantry. We have shopped for elderly neighbors, donated PPE to first responders, and supported our local businesses. We have stayed home, even when missing our friends and family. We have masked up without complaint.
We are so close to better times. Spring of 2021 will bring Mercer County’s preservation of the Hopewell Valley Golf Club and its transformation into a new, public golf course, tennis courts, paddle courts, restaurant, banquet facility, and pool. This not only saves the area from housing development that could have resulted in hundreds of new homes, but it gives our community an exciting new public active recreation facility.
This year we also will see the County start the planning process and receive public input for the transformation of the Trap Rock Quarry into the Moores Station Quarry Park. After having been mined for more than a century, we now have the opportunity for a unique recreation facility in Hopewell Township.
In 2021 Hopewell Township will move into a Community Policing model. Bob Karmazin, our temporary civilian Police Director, has begun to help us with this transition and to find the best way to structure the Police Department with this community-focused goal in mind.
Finally, we are moving forward with the senior and community center. In December, we hired the design firm to start us moving from the dreaming phase to the doing phase. They will be assisting us in holding community focus groups and input sessions, and they ultimately will present all of us with three potential options for the center’s design. Nothing will be better than having a place to gather together as a community, when we finally can do that again.
We are fortunate to live in Hopewell Township, a community that has faced unprecedented challenges with strength and grace. I appreciate the confidence that voters had in me last year, and that my colleagues on the Township Committee had in electing me as Deputy Mayor. I could not be serving with a more dedicated, smart, and honorable group of people. I look forward to this year with Mayor Julie Blake and the rest of my colleagues as we serve this community through the hard things and into brighter times ahead.
Hopewell Township Deputy Mayor