RARITAN, NJ - Representatives from the Raritan Sustainable Economic Development Plan presented their land use recommendations to the Raritan Borough Planning Board April 28.

The plan is funded by the New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and was designed to develop a vision for economic development throughout Raritan in a way that revitalizes the downtown area, promotes a strong sense of community and incorporates new developments consistent with the town’s vision, according to the Raritan Sustainable Economic Development Plan website. The suggestions are meant to revitalize, while adding economic improvement to the borough.

The project has been through several phases, including an existing conditions memorandum, a community workshop with town wide participation, an economic market assessment memorandum and an economic development plan.

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A vision plan, including reimagined images featuring opportunities for redevelopment in Raritan; a community engagement summary, including details of the public feedback drawn throughout the project process; and an implementation toolbox, mapping ways that the vision for Raritan drafted throughout the plan can become a reality, have been drafted and are available for public view on the website.

The funding-based aspect of the project is scheduled to be completed in June, though there is still work to be done, said Adam Tecza, project manager with Fitzgerald & Halliday Inc., the consultant company hired to further the project.

Tecza led the presentation to the planning board.

“The key here is to capitalize on small wins,” Tecza said. “Really, focus on people, facilitate tenant and owner-driven improvements and support economic advancement for residents.”

He described the plan as “people-focused.”

Tecza showed some of the visual ideas previously presented to the Raritan Borough Council, including cosmetic improvements to areas such as Nevius Street.

The presentation to the council was focused on the vision, while the planning board presentation was to highlight the details of making that happen, he said.

“The goal being really to create great places for people to spend time that are going to become destinations not only for people who live outside of Raritan, but also people who live here and work in Raritan and really care about it,” he said.

Tecza took the board through the plan’s implementation toolbox, which showcases the plan’s ideas for economic development and provides ideas and a suggested timeline on how to achieve them. The implementation toolbox contains suggestions for the upkeep of the plan’s visions for up to 10 years.

The core suggestions include building Raritan as a good place to do business, making the riverfront a destination, governing with a commitment to sustainable revitalization and coordinating economic development to sustain the project’s achievements.

The planning board discussed Tecza’s presentation positively.

“I wanted to thank Adam and the team for the report,” said borough planner Angela Knowles. “I think when we set out to do this at first and we submitted our application to the NJTPA to be considered for this program, and we listed out all of these things, I think we are getting exactly what we asked for.”

Going forward, the board will discuss draft ordinances surrounding implementation of the plan’s suggestions.