Clark's television debut is here. The town's appearance on NFL commentator and former player Terry Bradshaw's "Today in America" infomercial series was recently completed and is available on the company's YouTube page. Watch it by clicking the play button in our gallery, right.
The infomercial provides a detailed history of Clark and highlights Clark's rec program, schools and accessibility.
“Many residents who grew up in Clark got married, bought houses here, wanted to be close to their parents and raise their children in this community,” says Bonaccorso in the infomercial. “As far as working here, it’s a great, clean, safe environment that’s accessible to the parkways, turnpikes and major roads throughout New Jersey. As far as play, Clark has an unbelievable recreation program that caters to our children right through our senior citizens, something we take a lot of pride in.”
Business Administrator John Laezza and Downtown Development Committee Member Robert Weisensee also appear in the video.
"It's great to do business in a small town environment close to New York City, because it has all the resources that are available to the metropolitan area, but has the feel of a small town, has the ability to get working people from the small town there," says Laezza in the video.
"As far as owning business here, the location can’t be better," adds Weisensee, who owns two downtown buildings, in the video. "It’s a short train ride to Manhattan if I need to entertain guests or have business meetings there, and if the need arises to travel for work, Newark airport is a short car ride from here."
The video also highlights that Clark has managed to remain fiscally sound in tough economic times and hasn't imposed layoffs or furloughs on town employees.
"We approach municipal government by integrity, transparency, working for the needs of our citizens, trying to respond to the type of situations that our citizens want us to respond to,” says Bonaccorso in the video. “At a local level it’s very grassroots, it’s what happens in front of people’s homes, and I believe myself and town council have been very successful at doing that.”
The five-minute segment will be aired nationally on the Fox Business Network and the Discovery Channel and regionally on CNN Headline News and possibly other news networks, "Today in America"'s Vice President of Production Jim Nicholas Veser told Patch in March. The exact airing dates and times depend on availability, but Veser says the segment will run about 20 times and always between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
The infomercial was filmed in July, and Clark paid $19,800 in fees to produce and air it. It features shots of senior and rec activites, the Dr. Robinson Plantation, Clark's senior fitness center, Hyatt Hills golf course, Arthur L. Johnson High School, Clarkton Shopping Center and shopping in downtown Westfield.
"There’s certain licensing fees, and they were very up front and explained that to us," Bonaccorso told Patch in March. "But for this kind of big time exposure, that’s inconsequential. It's a show, that's the best way to describe it – it's not News 12 NJ. We listened to them and read up about all this and said, 'Absolutely.' It’s an honor to be considered."
The hefty price tag caused some residents at a June council meeting to question whether the funds could be better allocated in town.
Bonaccorso responded, saying the infomercial would be "tangible evidence" of how great Clark is, and the town would own all rights to the commercial afterwards and could use the product as a marketing tool for future endeavors. He added that the commercial will be able to "sell and promote Clark" to people who are looking to move and to develop businesses in town as Clark looks to develop a full downtown area. The mayor emphasized that he is not looking for residential developments, but is focusing on industrial and commercial projects as part of the town's master plan to establish a vibrant town center.
"We considered a number of factors including quality of life, proximity to major metropolitan areas, available land and commercial acreage," said Veser. "We also chose towns that are in growth mode."
Bonaccorso announced the news at a March council meeting, saying, "I'm very excited to report that we were chosen. It’s about economics. It's about safety and conditions in the community and recreation aspects we provide. We are very proud to bring national recognition for the second time to this great town." (Clark was chosen by Bloomberg Business Weekly as one of the 10 best affordable suburbs in America in 2010.)
Veser says the series, which has been in production for three years, features 40-50 towns across the country per year and does not choose multiple towns in the same region. No other Union County towns will be selected. In New Jersey, Vineland has also signed on to be featured, and the company has also reached out to Fair Lawn.
The series hasn't been without controversy. Parsippany backed out of the feature after reading negative online reports about the show's production company. In addition to profiling towns, the series also sells video profiles to certain businesses.
Veser says Clark was most certainly chosen for a reason and doesn't mind discussing the controversy. "Yes there is a fee," says Veser. "Nowadays YouTube, social media is king. We call it more of a branding thing. And we don't work with towns and cities that don't fall into our criteria."
What do you think of the finished product? Tell us in the comments.
- Stephanie Musat provided previously ran reporting used in this story.