SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerset County Regional Center Partnership held its initial meeting of 2019 with a goal of advancing the recently adopted “Somerset County Regional Center Strategic Plan,” that outlines the cooperative agenda for the municipalities of Bridgewater, Raritan, and Somerville for the next five years.

The Strategic Plan defines and prioritizes quality-of-life issues, obstacles, opportunities, and projects that are multi-municipal in nature and will facilitate the advancement of the goals and objectives for the SCRC and further the mission of creating “vibrant connections” throughout Somerset County. 

Among the goals and elements being addressed include pursuing the recommendations of the Supporting Priority Investment in Somerset County Phase III, the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), and the results of a Regional Center Visioning Session convened in September of 2015.

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The Strategic Plan’s four themes are: Health & Wellness; Resiliency; Embracing the Raritan River; and Job Growth & Private Sector Investment.

As part of the Health & Wellness initiative, the Partnership members unanimously endorsed the Phase 2 Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Challenge Grant Program that is intended to help make the Regional Center more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly. With a matching grant total of $15,000 per community, funds may be utilized to continue and/or expand upon an existing pedestrian safety-related project or to pursue a new pedestrian-safety initiative.

Eligible projects may include safety enforcement activities, promotional materials, educational activities, sidewalk corrections, improved lighting for crosswalks, or preparation of plans to implement the Strategic Plan’s bicycle and pedestrian goals and recommendations.  Targeted areas include schools, commercial corridors, and downtown and Main Street areas.

Additionally, the SCRCP approved the meeting dates for 2019. Meetings are open to the public and provide opportunity for public input.  The meetings are held in the Engineering Conference Room on the second floor of the County Administration Building, 20 Grove Street in Somerville at 5:00 P.M. on Wednesday, March 20; Wednesday, May 15; Wednesday, July 17; Wednesday, September 18; Thursday, November 7; and Wednesday, January 15, 2020.

The Somerset County Regional Center is the strategic center of the County consisting of 12.6 square miles encompassing Raritan Borough, Somerville Borough, and a portion of Bridgewater Township. The Center is bisected by U.S. Route 206, U.S. Route 202, U.S. Route 22, NJ State Route 28, and I-287 with public transit options and serves as the focal point of County government and the regional economy.

The Regional Center designation:

•  encourages achievement of policy objectives in growth areas;

•  enables development and redevelopment by reclaiming of brownfields;

•  makes available priority funding for economic and community programs that provide for assistance with redevelopment in existing downtown business districts, new infill development opportunities, and residential and non-residential development along major highway and mass transit corridors;

•  will foster establishment of more effective mass transportation linkages and  may provide priority funding for key intersection and corridor improvements and improved pedestrian accessibility;

•  support for linear open space concepts, for the planning and design of new and existing active   recreation facilities, for passive open space acquisitions, and for new and existing historic preservation and revitalization programs.