Thursday, September 26, 2013

Remembering David Knights

Central New Jersey

HOPEWELL BOROUGH: Town loses a longtime public servant
David H. Knights, 60, a man who has left an indelible imprint on the town and region he loved, died Tuesday morning
By Ruth Luse, Managing Editor
Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 4:57 PM EDT
David H. Knights
   Hopewell Borough Council President David H. Knights, 60, a man who has left an indelible imprint on the town and region he loved, died Tuesday morning.

   Upon hearing of Mr. Knights’ death, Hopewell Borough Mayor Paul Anzano said: “It is with great sorrow and much sadness that we learned of the passing of longtime Hopewell Borough Council President David Knights. Our most heartfelt condolences are extended to his wife Linda and children Charlie, Owen and Caroline at this very difficult time.

   ”David was an integral part of the Hopewell community and he will be sorely missed. His contributions to the borough are innumerable, immeasurable and lasting. At an appropriate time, we will pay tribute to David’s service to our town; right now, we are struggling to comprehend this sad and sudden news.”

   Mr. Knights and his wife, Linda, moved into their West Broad Street residence in 1988.

   Six years later, he began his journey in public service as a member of Hopewell’s Transportation Task Force that produced a final report for the borough’s Planning Board. He served many years on the Planning Board, including a time as vice chairman.

   Mr. Knights was appointed to fill a vacancy on Borough Council in 1997 and had remained on council since that time. He was council’s longtime president.
   Mr. Knights was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

   Drawing on previous experience in the South End of Boston (Massachusetts) as a developer of renovated brownstone buildings, Mr. Knights oversaw the renovation of the Hopewell Railroad Station, which was purchased by Hopewell Borough in 1983. This is now a multi-use community facility.

   In 1999, he was instrumental in preserving land that ultimately became Hopewell Park.
   He also was a major player in the preservation of the 340-acre St. Michael’s property, just on the edge of town. He and others felt the tract — if developed (and not preserved) — could have threatened the quality of life for Hopewell Borough residents forever.

   Linda Mead, president, D&R Greenway Land Trust, said Wednesday: “David’s passion for preserving the best of Hopewell was bigger than life! His enthusiastic determination made a difference in saving St. Michael’s. The day we erected the Charles Evans Overlook, David told me he and his wife discovered it on their sunset walk to the preserve. From there, he could enjoy a sweeping view of ‘his’ community and it became his favorite place. David’s dedication to the people and places of Hopewell set an example and left a legacy that will benefit all of us and generations to come.”

   The D&R Greenway Land Trust, of Princeton, was the organization that acquired — with the help of many other individuals and groups — the funds necessary to preserve the St. Michael’s property.

   As a member of Hopewell Council’s Building Subcommittee, he worked to transition and transform the former 1950s-era Masonic Temple, at 88 E. Broad St., into the Hopewell-appropriate and ADA-compliant “new” Borough Hall/Courthouse that opened in April 2012.

   He was “passionate about preserving and protecting the best of Hopewell Borough and proved that commitment in initiatives too numerous to list,” said Hopewell Borough Administrator/Clerk Michele Hovan.

   Until his death, he was the president of Preservation New Jersey (PNJ), a post he had held since 2011.
   Scot D. Pannepacker, PNJ treasurer, said Tuesday: “The board and staff of Preservation New Jersey is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of board chairman, David Knights. David has been a strong presence on our board of trustees. He was the enthusiastic cheerleader for new projects, such as the 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing, and worked tirelessly with the committee to build awareness and public support.

   ”He was the trustee who saw hope and optimism each year at the annual budget review; better yet David was always the trustee who came back to the next meeting with funding commitments and new relationships to match his optimism. He was the person who stepped up and volunteered when leadership was needed; whether to join the gala committee, speak at a networking event, stop at the office to offer assistance to our staff, or volunteer as board chair.

   ”But most of all, we will miss David’s friendly smile, his positive outlook and his untiring energy toward making our community someplace special.”
   Mr. Knights had a degree in American history from Brown University and an MBA from Harvard University.

   He was the vice president of Picus Associates, a real estate development consulting firm, where he worked for over 27 years.

   From 2004 to June 2013, Mr. Knights had served as an appointed commissioner to the Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission and was its longest-serving member.

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