There is excitement in the air. Can you feel it? Over the last couple of years, the Main Street corridor has become the home of a number of new businesses: Sorriso Kitchen, Main 233, and Café Roma restaurants; Scoops Ice Cream; Chatham Bagel; Drip Coffee and the soon-to-be-opened French pastry shop. These businesses, in part, hope to capitalize from the buzz surrounding the ongoing redevelopment projects in Chatham Borough. As a result, the only vacant storefronts are in the building housing the old shoe store and barbershop, which is slated to be torn down and replaced by an attractive new building, already approved 2 years ago by the Planning Board and which will be respectful of Main Street’s historic charm.
However, to set the record straight, this commercial resurgence has everything to do with a redevelopment effort which has been in process for several years, and nothing to do with Thad Kobylarz’s “vision” of technology and innovation businesses setting-up shop in the Borough. During the recent candidate forum even Irene Treloar, one of Mr. Kobylarz’s running mates, questioned whether Mr. Kobylarz’s “vision” is the right answer for the Borough.
This new economic vitality along Main Street is an intended benefit of the redevelopment process – one designed to grow commercial tax ratables while shifting some of the tax burden away from residential property owners. The revitalization of lackluster areas of town through redevelopment will generate additional tax revenue, new residents (customers for Chatham businesses), new housing choices for empty nesters, and additional economic opportunities along Main Street and surrounding streets.
While the positive benefits of redevelopment are many, we must work to ensure the
redevelopment projects slated for Post Office Plaza and River Road do not unreasonably burden our infrastructure, police and fire services and our schools, and that they enhance the Borough’s historic charm and character. The team of Bob Weber, Stacey McEvoy and Paul Kelley pledge to do just that.