Lakewood, NJ — To address Lakewood’s regional growing pains and foster a shared blueprint for its future, the Lakewood Neighbors coalition engaged the Consensus Building Institute (CBI) affiliated with MIT-Harvard, and the National Charrette Institute (NCI) affiliated with Michigan State University to provide an “Assessment and Process Design for Community Action Planning” prior to forming a collaborative “charrette” process.
The nationally and internationally recognized non-profit NCI / CBI team serves as third-party neutrals for multi-party mediation and planning for local, state, federal and international agencies. They will interview representatives from all segments of the Lakewood region in January to identify key issues and make public recommendations prior to engaging their proven charrette method for designing and developing solutions to pressing community needs.
“Since we formed Lakewood Neighbors last December, we’ve continued to highlight all the good happening in Lakewood while searching for the best professionals to help chart a productive way forward together as a community,” noted Rabbi Aaron Kotler, President and CEO of Beth Medrash Govoha.
“This is the beginning of a big investment in the future of Lakewood,” said Dr. Joseph Marbach, President of Georgian Court University, “made possible by the generous support of a small group of Orthodox businesspeople who want to see the larger Lakewood community brought together.”
“To address the challenges facing Lakewood, we must start by addressing each other as neighbors who share a common ground,” added Lakewood Mayor Ray Coles. “This is about an open process that builds trust and finds solutions.”
Other founding coalition members include Joseph Buckelew, Chairman of Conner Strong & Buckelew; Ralph Zucker, President of Somerset Development; Dr. Dovid Friedman, CEO of the Lakewood Resource and Referral Center; Mrs. Ada Gonzalez, Lakewood Board of Education, and Mike McNeill, President of Solutions to End Poverty Soon (STEPS).