When I was running for Mayor this time last year, a common concern among residents was the degradation of the business climate here in Englewood in recent years. Our Central Business District, once a bustling commercial center and the envy of other Bergen County towns, was marked with far too many empty storefronts and vacancies. There was little energy and a pronounced lack of optimism, both of which I believe are essential components for making our city work. The situation didn't just harm our business owners, but the lack of consistent commercial tax revenue growth only increased the burden on our residential taxpayers and contributed to our budgetary problems.
I knew that when I took office, revitalizing our business climate would have to be a top priority. My mantra became two simple words -- Renew Englewood -- that together said so much about what we needed to do to get our community moving again. I'm proud to say that while we are nowhere near the finish line, we're seeing real progress in that mission to renew our community as a prime location to open a business, expand an existing operation and contribute to our community.
Some of the progress we have seen has been truly remarkable. We've cut ribbons at several new businesses opening up in our city, including interesting new concepts like Playa Bowls, Andrade Shoe Repair and Casa Hispanola Cigar Lounge. We have also seen major new entrants to our city, like the fantastic new Land Rover and Jaguar of Englewood, which will be a significant new taxpaying entity. New businesses like these breath new life into our community, provide employment opportunities for our residents and tax revenue for our local government. I hope to be at the site of hundreds more ribbon cuttings in the coming years.
Beyond the businesses themselves, we're working to bring our community together to inspire that sense of optimism and togetherness that will lead to a brighter future. I'm proud of the work our Cultural Affairs committee has done in expanding our programs and offerings to residents, and I'm excited for the return of treasured traditions like Englewood Day that were unfortunately allowed to disappear.
All of these actions together will continue to push our city in the forward direction that we all believe it must go in. Englewood's greatest resource is our wonderful, diverse, involved residents -- people who truly care about each other and about our city. I pledge to do whatever I can as Mayor to harness that energy and work to Renew Englewood.
Michael Wildes, Mayor
City of Englewood