At a fundraiser at the Chandelier Restaurant, Mayor James Davis announced his re-election bid for the May 2018 Bayonne mayoral election. His lone opponent, former assemblyman and firefighter, Jason O’Donnell, announced his bid last week.
“I’m not running for mayor, I am the mayor,” said Davis, keeping the crowd psyched after his introduction from Sen. Bob Menendez. “I will be here for the next four years to continue moving this city forward.” Chants of “four more years” followed.
His decision to run for re-election, while expected, did not seem like an easy one. After his introduction, he immediately turned his attention to his family, particularly his son, Joshua, 10, whose support Davis said was vital to his decision. The mayor’s job is time consuming, and the desire to spend time with family most often outweighs the desire to run. But Mayor Davis said he has much left to do, and to “see things through.”
He touted his accomplishments in various park improvements, namely the new turf field at Veteran’s Stadium, a new pond and walkway at Stephen R. Gregg Park, and improvements to 16th Street and Rutkowski Park, and a new skatepark, which Davis ranked in the top five skate parks in the region. Davis said he aims to continue improving open space in the city and facilitate sporting and social events.
As an indication of the city’s revitalization, Davis pointed to various developments his administration facilitated, which he said will expand the property tax base over time, make room for new people, and bring new businesses. One of Sen. Menendez’s most important talking points was his work coordinating with Bayonne officials throughout the years to make the former Military Ocean Terminal Base “an opportunity for the future,” by transferring more than200 acres of waterfront land to Bayonne.
“Under Mayor Jimmy Davis, we are seeing the possibility of MOTBY finally moving in the direction of real opportunity,” said Menendez. Mayor Davis’s administration settled a number of lawsuits that were delaying development on the base, and has been aggressive in courting developers, not only on the base, but near the light rail stations where high-density housing is most in demand.
With new residents come new businesses. Already, a Cosco, Starbucks, and a Hilton hotel are slated. Meanwhile, Broadway has long been the business center but is largely seen as less prosperous than past decades. In recent years, that has started to turn around.
“We’ve been working hard to bring Broadway back to its old glory,” said Davis, who resented one resident’s assertion that he is merely a “ribbon-cutting mayor.”
“You know what, ladies and gentlemen, if I’m out there every day cutting ribbons for new businesses, that means people are investing their money in our town.”