MADISON, NJ—Pedestrians can now enjoy wider sidewalks on Lincoln Place, thanks to the addition of tree grates by Downtown Development Commission (DDC) members Craig Erezuma and Brad Cramer.
The new tree grates will further expand the sidewalks, easing pedestrian flow for large groups and parents with strollers. “We wanted to widen the sidewalks and allow people to walk down Lincoln Place without having to step in the tree wells,” said Erezuma, owner of Erezuma Architects.
“It’s also been a beautification project,” added Cramer, owner of Cramers Carpet One. “In the process of installing the grates, we dug up weeds and cleaned out garbage.” Nine tree grates now line the sidewalks of Lincoln Place, bearing the logo of the Downtown Development Commission, the project’s key sponsor.
According to Erezuma and Cramer, the tree grates project was not without its challenges. “We ran into difficulties because the tree wells weren’t originally intended to have grates,” said Erezuma. As a result, the grates had to be individually custom-made and custom-fit. While Erezuma took on the responsibility of measuring each well, Cramer led the installation process. The two called their joint effort a “hand-in-hand” partnership. “Without one, you really can’t get the job done,” they said.
Erezuma and Cramer are no strangers to the many beautification projects that revitalize Madison’s business district. Both say they are always looking for new ways to improve the downtown. In recent years, their partnership and countless hours of volunteer work have resulted in the repair of Waverly Place’s iconic Madison clock, the addition of illuminated alley signs, and the installation of art poles featuring the work of local artists. In 2012, the American Planning Association recognized their collaborative work on the renovation of the Lincoln Place island, earning downtown Madison a spot on the list of Great Places in New Jersey.
Council Member Bob Landrigan praised the DDC for their dedication and initiative. “This is another great example of the DDC’s commitment to improving our downtown and the wonderful partnership they have with the Borough of Madison.”
“No tax dollars are being used to pay for this project,” added Landrigan. “The DDC is paying for the entire project, including materials and installation, from money they have raised through Bottle Hill Day and other fundraising activities.”
“These projects are a gift to the town,” said Erezuma, who says he enjoys seeing the impact that DDC efforts have in Madison. Cramer agreed, calling the projects an opportunity for him to give back. Both credit the work of the DDC and departments within the Borough of Madison for the successful completion of their various undertakings. “The symbiosis between different groups, including the Madison DPW and Electric Department, is fantastic,” said Erezuma.