Editor's Note: Rebecca Greene is a member of the Economic Development Corporation.
FAIR LAWN, NJ - The borough's downtown planner presented an outline to the mayor and council for economic development during its first in-person council meeting since the COVID-19 lockdown began in March.
On July 14, Isaac Kremer, hired in March as a part-time planner for $18,000 through the end of the year, said his "big push" is "catalytic development." While the council was in attendance at borough hall, Kremer phoned into the meeting for his presentation.
Kremer, who additionally works as the executive director for Downtown Metuchen, said "it's crucial to get people out of their cars," a factor in revitalizing interest in business districts.
Kremer said catalytic development focuses on bringing out the value of a town, especially the neglected parts of a town.
People and funding are crucial, he said. "What can 10, 20, 30 volunteers accomplish? The Chamber, they're feeling the pinch from COVID, their membership is down."
Kremer acknowledged there are "powerful head winds" for businesses at this time because of the state shutdown mandated by the government to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
His plan includes four key concepts: include everyone; regularly gather together; bring in entrepreneurs, those who "need to lead"; and understand the process is a long-term commitment.
Councilwoman Gail Rottenstrich asked if some of what Kremer was suggesting should be worked through the Fair Lawn Economic Development Corporation.
Kremer spoke to the EDC at its June meeting with similar suggestions.
Rottenstrich said she was in favor of making Fair Lawn "more welcoming to entrepreneurship." She suggested efforts to make things "more smooth" for businesses who want to set up shop in the borough.
"We need to market to these businesses, so they know where to go and what to do," she said.
Councilman Kris Krause said it was "nice to hear about the latest trends" in business. "It's a nice first step."