Princeton Mayor Mark Freda recently announced his intention to run for reelection during a virtual press conference on Jan. 19. In an interview with The Daily Princetonian, Freda talked about the strengthening relationship between the University and the town and his worries about campus expansion’s effects on students’ experience with the city.
The primary election will be held on June 4, 2024, with the general election happening later in November. Freda has served as mayor since being sworn in on Jan. 4, 2021. Currently, no other individuals have announced their intention to run for mayor.
Freda told the ‘Prince’ that the relationship between the University and the town has “strengthened” over the past several years and that the University “has worked very well with [the local government].”
Freda cited the annual meeting between President Eisgruber and the municipality to “discuss shared interests affecting the University and the community, including transportation, housing and support for local businesses,” as an example of cooperation.
“The fact that we can talk to the University and talk to people at any level … just make a phone call or stop over and say, ‘Hey, let’s chat about stuff’ makes a huge difference,” Freda added about the open line of communication between the town and the University.
Freda emphasized the mutually beneficial nature of the town and University’s relationship.
“Because the University wants to continue to attract the staff, the professors, the quality students, etc. They want to be surrounded by a town that’s successful, welcoming, and a town that people want to be in,” he said.
For this reason, Freda also hopes that future University projects will be done with the town’s interest in mind. He referenced construction projects near Faculty Road, which is on the south side of campus where Yeh College and New College West, as well as Jadwin Gym, are located.
“The student population needs to stay up where it’s easy for them to come into town … If they’re on campus all the time, it’s not a great experience. You want to get off campus, you want to see what is available in the community that surrounds the campus for the students to get involved in,” he said.
Freda’s comments on prioritizing locating new construction projects closer to Nassau Street come at a time when the University has chosen to construct its new Meadows Neighborhood further away from central campus than most previous projects — on the other side of Lake Carnegie. When completed this year, Meadows will house graduate housing, a racquet center, and numerous athletic fields. Notably, Meadows is located in West Windsor Township, not the municipality of Princeton.
“If you get the hell off campus and come over to the other side of the street, there’s a lot in Princeton to do, you know, walking trails … there’s so many nonprofits that students can get involved [with] … come on over and enjoy them,” he added.
The campus in past years has increased its construction, with construction projects in various stages of completion, including Frist Health Center, four new buildings to house environmental science, bioengineering, and chemical and biological engineering, as well as an engineering commons, and recent plans to build a Quantum Institute.
On Jan. 31, the University officials announced that Princeton will give $28.2 million in unrestricted funds to the municipality over the next five years and $11.3 million over five years for other projects. Freda said that he believes the contribution shows an acknowledgement that “there’s a cost impact to the town and the University there. It’s not an island and everything that happens doesn’t happen just on campus.”
Christopher Bao is an assistant News editor for the ‘Prince.’
Charlie Roth is a senior News writer for the ‘Prince.’
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