Wouldn’t it be fabulous if we could wave a magic wand and transform our Downtown overnight, ridding it of the damaging effects of the recession? Like other residents, I would love for our Downtown to be one of the most attractive in the State.
But as much as we might wish it, everything doesn't happen overnight. Private property owners cannot be forced to rebuild facades or upgrade the street scape outside their stores and offices. Our hope, however, is that they will want to join in our revitalization efforts. As these photos show, we are making real progress in improving how Downtown looks!
A few years ago, at the request of the Town Council, the newly formed Downtown Beautification Committee (DBC) began to work on recommendations for Design Standards to make our Downtown more cohesive and aesthetically pleasing. Founded by Councilwoman Jeanne Kingsley, the DBC saves the Town the expense of costly consultants. DBC members—all volunteers—did extensive research before making Design Standards recommendations to our Town Planner, who reviewed and edited these recommendations before presenting the new Standards to Town Council members, who ultimately adopted them.
These Standards are now a part of the Zoning and Planning Board review of new applications. As new buildings are built and existing businesses renovate and expand, property owners are starting to implement them. It’s still early days, and so we are currently in a transition period, but positive improvements are clearly visible.
Please take a walk downtown on one of these lovely Spring days so you can enjoy the improved street scape—including sidewalks created using brick pavers and more unified lighting styles. Also, due to the efforts of the DBC, flowers have been planted, and a lovely Town Clock proudly marks the entrance to Peppertown Park. We've raised funds for our work so each improvement to Downtown has come at no expense to taxpayers. Together with other residents, we have added value and charm to our Downtown and will continue to do so. I’m so proud to be a member of the DBC!
Let’s keep this momentum going so that Berkeley Heights continues to move in a positive direction. Please vote for Jeanne Kingsley and Marc Faecher (KingsleyFaecher2017.com) in the Republican Primary for Township Council on Tuesday, June 6th.