City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

It Takes a Village

Investing in the Community in the Village of Ridgewood

Residents of the entirety of Bergen County know that the Village of Ridgewood is one of the crowning jewels of the area. Full of beautiful residential neighborhoods, welcoming public spaces, and a charming and bustling downtown business district, it’s a hub of activity for the whole region, and the past year has been an exciting time of development for the town. We had the opportunity to speak to Paul Vagianos, mayor of the Village of Ridgewood and owner of the local restaurant It’s Greek to Me, about what 2023 was like for the community, and what’s in store for 2024. 

Vagianos spoke about projects that have transformed the town over the past year in many different ways, from planting trees and revising zoning ordinances in the central business district to make it easier for new businesses to open, to breaking ground on new wells to provide water to the entire community. The town ran an initiative to display banners of local veterans during the summer and will expand it during the coming year. Together with the county, Ridgewood also paved over 32 miles worth of roads in 2023, and in spite of a nationwide lifeguard shortage, was able to have the lifeguard stands at local pond Graydon Pool fully staffed throughout the 2023 season, with hopes to do so again in 2024.

“We were able to pave new sidewalks in a bunch of places that really needed it for safety,” Vagianos continued, “but one of the biggest ones for me has been Schedler Park. It is a really important project. That property was purchased in about 2008 or 2009 and has been sitting on the shelf for 15 years, and now we’re finally going to bring it to fruition.” Actualizing plans to develop a recreational space, complete with a full-size playing field, at Schedler Park was a difficult process for the town, involving ensuring that the area had no Revolutionary War significance. Now that the plan has finally been approved, it will become the first field in town since 1980, and the only one not on a flood plain. “I wish the devastating flooding of the past months hadn’t proved how right we were about needing it, but it’s crucial to have a safe outdoor space for the residents of this town to use, young and old.” 

Of course, not every project of the year was a rousing success. While Ridgewood’s downtown pedestrian plazas of the summer have been wildly popular in years past, this year the initiative didn’t perform as well as was hoped. “We still think it’s important for the community, but it needs some changes for the future,” Vagianos reported. “It’s going to go on the shelf until the time is right.”

Another win for the town during the course of 2023 has been the state of community involvement. Hybrid access meetings to allow Ridgewood residents to more easily participate in town discussions have been huge according to Mayor Vagianos, as has the village’s new website to make information more easily accessible. Looking forward to 2024, participation from all members of the community will continue to be vital to the town’s success. “I’ll quote my mother-in-law’s saying– many hands make light work,” Vagianos said. “This village has been a great village for a long time, and we want to keep improving it, and to do that, everyone has to do their part, whatever that may be. They can coach a team, help put on an event in town, help clean their sidewalks, anything to pitch in where they can. We need everyone to get involved in order to continue to make this town great.”

So, what’s in store for the future? There’s plenty to look forward to over the rest of 2024, including establishing a Gold Star monument in Van Neste Park for fallen veterans, repairing the footbridge on Kingsbridge Lane, and much more. The projects of the past year and the planned projects of the current one are proving over and over again to be crucial investments in the future of the town, something that both the village’s leadership and residents can join hands on. 

“Being mayor of this town is such an honor,” Paul Vagianos stated. “It was a great town before I came in and we’ve continued to make it great. One of the most rewarding parts of the job for me is working with residents who have issues to help them resolve those issues. It’s not easy, and there’s not always a clear solution, but when I’m able to help someone, it’s a good day.”

For more information, visit the Village of Ridgewood’s website at