When it comes to working in tandem with citizens to build a safe community, few towns measure up to Morristown, New Jersey. Located in Morris County, a mere 30 miles west of bustling Manhattan, Morristown is using technology to connect with its citizenry in a pioneering way that’s spiking the curiosity of other New Jersey towns.

We conducted a bit of research to learn more about this Garden State gem, and discover the details of its admired citizen based project, Morristown Moving Forward.

Morristown Moving Forward Mission

A vibrant community of 18,000 residents, Morristown has embraced the Morristown Moving Forward community-based planning project. The purpose of the project is to collect information from citizens that will help generate a land use and circulation plan to serve as the foundation for the town’s new Master Plan. Leaders hope that Morristown Moving Forward will not only preserve the town’s rich heritage, but also establish the groundwork for healthy neighborhoods of the future.

Similar to a town hall meeting, Morristown officials are asking residents to comment on topics, share ideas, submit photos and interact with fellow residents. The project asks for citizen input on issues such as traffic congestion, sustainable growth, and pedestrian and bicycle friendly streets. Residents are asked pointed questions, like “What do you think makes a place great?” and “Where are the congestion hotspots in Morristown?”

Creating a Safer Community

And above all, Morristown Moving Forward encourages residents to identify areas where they feel unsafe. Using an idea map residents zoom in on the spot or region they feel unsafe- whether it’s a section of road, a trail, sidewalk or intersection. Residents then add comments noting why they feel unsafe and any ideas they have for making the location safer. As a reward for their participation, residents earn points for submitting an idea, commenting on an idea, adding a photo and more. Points can be exchanged for things such as gift certificates for a local coffee shop, or Morristown’s natural market.

Why the Morristown Moving Forward Project Matters

Community leaders often ask for citizen opinions, but many people find it difficult to balance work and family demands with attendance at public meetings. As a result, some of the most genuine concerns as well as the best ideas go unheard. Morristown changes that by allowing citizens to contribute to important community discussions when and where they can. For a busy professional that could be during their morning commute, for a stay at home parent that might mean during the kids’ nap or for a housebound person it could mean offering suggestions during breakfast.

The Morristown Moving Forward project is funded and administered by the Town of Morristown, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

The Technology Behind the Project

The technology that makes the Morristown Moving Forward project possible is courtesy of MindMixer. The Omaha, Nebraska based company is getting great press and is currently helping more than 400 organizations leverage the power of the Internet and social media to engage with members they might not have connected with otherwise.

The Magic Morristown Offers

Morristown enjoys a rich Revolutionary War history, tree lined streets boasting amazing Federal and Victorian homes and convenient access to New York City. Its Mayo Performing Arts Center and Morris Museum infuse the town with much appreciated comedy, history, culture and art. The town’s hub is Morristown Green. Located at the heart of the downtown district, Morristown Green is where families gather to celebrate holidays, enjoy movie nights and special events like the Summer Jazz and Blues Festival. Diverse, charming and forward-thinking, it’s a place residents are justifiably proud to call home.

Congratulations Morristown leaders and residents, you’re sending a clear statement to criminals by capitalizing on the value of government-citizen partnership. That’s fundamental to creating safe neighborhoods and a vibrant economy. Protecting your home with a professional security system adds another layer of defense against criminals. If you’d like to find a system that fits your family’s needs and budget, use the SafeWise security system finder to get started.

Image: CC BY SA

Written by Alexia Chianis

Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more

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