Morris Plains 8th graders offer advice to new mayor

Morris Plains essay winners Allison Wilbur, left, and Monisha Patel.
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From the Morris Plains Democratic Committee:

This year, Morris Plains inaugurated its first new mayor in more than three decades. Borough School 8th graders Monisha Patel and Allison Wilbur each won $250 and a plaque for their winning essays addressing this question:

After 32 years under the leadership of Mayor Frank Druetzler, Morris Plains has a new mayor. What do you like most about living in Morris Plains? What improvements would make your community better?  Use specific details and examples to convince the new mayor, Mayor Jason Karr, to accept your ideas for improving your town.
Here is what they wrote.


 

Dear Mr. Mayor Jason Karr:

Hello, my name is Monisha Patel. I am 13 years old and have been a resident of Morris Plains for about seven years now. As someone who hasn’t lived in Morris Plains their entire life, I can wholeheartedly say that I absolutely love our little community.

You build such great relationships with the people here, and they are all so friendly. Something I like is that you can always meet someone you know at one of the shops around town. It’s nice to see your teacher or a friend at a grocery store and saying “hello.”

But while Morris Plains doesn’t need many improvements, there are some simple actions you can take to make the town more accommodating to its citizens’ needs. Some of these actions include changing the library hours, planting more greenery in the Greystone area, and updating the playground sets for older kids.

I am one of the many kids that depend on the library to be open after school. The problem for kids like us is that the library is closed on Mondays. Every weekday, we come to the library after school and await the arrival of our working parents to take us home, but on Mondays we are forced to find another place we can stay.

This is problematic for the parents and children who utilize the library, especially in the cold winter months, because there isn’t anywhere for us to go!

Since the library is primarily run by a small handful of elderly women, a simple solution to this problem can be to hire some people to run the library for a period of time on Mondays so parents don’t have to worry about their child’s well being, children don’t have to worry about where they can go after school, and the librarians can still have break from their five-day workweek.

There are many teens out in town looking for a way to enter the workforce, and this would be a perfect way to help them out as well.

Over the years, I acknowledged that in town there are open fields by in the Greystone area. Our town is very eco-friendly, and a great way to boost awareness for the Earth is by planting a garden in the fields near Greystone. It is a great way to bring the community together and would truly be a delightful place to walk through.

Finally, as an 8th-grade student, I’ve noticed that as I get older, the playgrounds aren’t suited to my size and are in need of an upgrade.

Many adolescents like myself enjoy playing at parks and reliving the nostalgia of their childhood by playing on playgrounds, but due to their age, weight, and size, are unable to. The most we are able to do now is swing on the swing set, and they could use an upgrade as well.

Many of the plastic slides and structures are torn here and there, paint is chipped off off a good majority of the equipment, and the metal chains on the swing sets are rusted and creak very loudly. All these problems can be solved by simply upgrading and replacing the playground equipment in Morris Plains.

Simple courses of action like extending library hours, creating a garden in the open fields of Greystone, and upgrading playground equipment will make life easier and more enjoyable for the people of Morris Plains. I hope you will consider making these suggested improvements a reality in the near future.

Sincerely,
Monisha Patel

Monisha Patel’s hobbies include reading, playing the flute, spending time with her family and friends, singing, and both the theatrical and visual arts. 
She is an only child and will be attending Morris Knolls High School for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. She is in the marching band at the high school and is planning on auditioning for the fall play. 

By Alison Wilbur

Morris Plains is an amazing place to live. Since it is small, it creates a tight knit community that enjoys spending time together. Even though Morris Plains is a great place to live, nothing is perfect. There are many things Morris Plains can do to make a good place even better.

One improvement is to develop a downtown. Morris Plains needs more diversity in its businesses. Hopefully there won’t be any more banks in the improved downtown, because we already have enough.

Another benefit of developing a downtown is to give everyone an area to gather. There aren’t many shops or businesses in Morris Plain where kids or families can walk around. We could use an ice cream parlor, bakery or coffee shop. Developing a downtown would not only be good for business, but for the community.

Another thing Morris Plains can improve is the support for its recreational programs. I know from my experience that the softball program, for example, which struggled but has come back, has had to fight to get good, usable fields and places to practice and run clinics. The town could help with this by making it easier to use the facilities we have and making them the best they could be.

Finally, it would really help if kids on bicycles could get between the north and south sides of town. Trying to get across Speedwell and under the tracks is dangerous, and kids have already been hit.

To conclude, Morris Plains is a wonderful place to live, but developing a downtown, improving recreational activities and making it safer for kids to get to these places would make a wonderful place even better.

Allison Wilbur is an honor roll student. She was a Member of Select Choir at school and plays trumpet in the school bands. She is part of the school’s Spring Musicals, cheerleading team, and co-captain of the school’s softball team. She will be a freshman at Villa Walsh Academy this September.

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