This letter originally appeared in TAPintoWestfield and the Westfield Leader on April 29, 2021.
“Can you meet me for coffee? I have an idea.”
So it begins, Dawn Mackey has put her mind to a project. Although this simple question may seem like she is just conceiving it, this powerhouse councilwoman is many steps ahead in her mind. She sees the entire event unfolding, smiling children, happy parents, the town coming together for a morning, a day, an evening to celebrate, Westfield, our restaurants, our downtown, an underserved park, and while you are hearing about this one event, Dawn is planning others in her mind. These will be revealed when the time is right.
I believe that what makes Westfield great are the connections we have to each other. Dawn is a leader that makes opportunities for connections. AddamsFest is a great example. Charles Addams grew up in Westfield. His legacy has been there for other administrations to enhance. However, it was this administration, and in particular Dawn, who had the vision to create an event that touched the various age groups and interests of the residents of Westfield.
The event featured an ale garden for the adults, miniature golf for the kids with holes themed after the Addams family — created by local builders, red carpet movies at the Rialto, original Charles Addams artwork and drawings located at the Ward Mansion where the exhibit could take on the elegance worthy of Gomez and Morticia. The capstone event, the masquerade ball, was complete with eerie drinks that smoked.
It took the creativity of Dawn Mackey to come up with these ideas, and it took her tenacity, business sense and hours and hours of work to bring this to fruition. Dawn looked to volunteers in town to bring this event together and to make it special to everyone who helped.
AddamsFest is just one of Dawn’s ideas. The Chili and Chowderfest highlighted many of our downtown restaurants, the Wicked Windows at Halloween showcase our talented artists and the Gingerbread houses highlight our many bakers. The Butterflies exhibit is a great example of Dawn’s vision bringing a spotlight on Westfield and drawing visitors from all over to photograph themselves at this public art exhibition. Not only do events like these bring people to our town for the day to enjoy our restaurants and shops, but it also makes our town desirable as a potential place to live and raise a family.
Dawn is also exceptionally attuned to the both the concerns and needs of residents in regard to Tamaques Park. When I was moving to Westfield I asked a friend living here already, “What’s this Tamaques Park I hear so much about?” She described it as “Westfield’s own Central Park.”
Truly, what an apt description. Not only is the park a naturally landscaped gem, but it also evokes the same hustle and movement of NYC’s Central Park where every inch has some special use. As plans for the park evolve, Dawn has not waited to beautify some areas of the park that needed an extra touch to make them special again. This past summer, during the pandemic, she conceived and oversaw the painting of the bocce court as well as the beautification of the gazebo area, including painting the picnic tables and the incorporation of a giant compass on the floor. The cost-effective project created with the artistic talents of some of our local Ward 4 residents adds charm to an area of the park that had been overlooked for years.
I personally appreciate all the hard work Dawn has done on behalf of Westfield. I hope you agree that Dawn should be reelected to another 4-years on Town Council. The entire town will benefit, and I just can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next. And if you get that call to meet for coffee, you can bet there is something exciting on her mind.