Government

New Providence Streetscapes Phase Two Moves Forward

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A shopper takes a break to rest on one of the many benches spread throughout the downtown commercial district that were installed years ago during the initial phase of Streetscapes. Credits: Mike Neavill
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NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – After the successful completion of the downtown streetscapes project that revitalized an aging area into a vibrant pedestrian-friendly shopping experience, borough officials are poised to strike again.

At this week’s Borough Council meeting, Administrator Doug Marvin presented early plans estimated at $520,000 for the Phase Two expansion. Marvin said part of the anticipated costs would be covered by a $220,000 federal grant.

“Perhaps we may want to implement some of the plans this year and delay others to next year,” Mayor Al Morgan said.

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Phase Two has been a long time coming. Almost five years ago, the Borough Council passed a resolution authorizing the expansion of the streetscapes project. As low bidder, a consulting engineering firm was hired to provide necessary plans, gain necessary state approvals and perform construction inspections, Marvin said

The firm outlined a time schedule with a construction end date of early 2011.

Had the project been completed on time or, for that matter anytime during the year, the borough could have avoided more onerous government regulations mandated in 2012.

“The borough is now subjected to additional reviews by the State Department of Transportation that deals with a whole host of issues we never would have been subjected to if the project had been finished on time,” Marvin said.

Streetscapes became a reality with the creation of a Special Improvement District (SID) with the Borough Council authorizing the issuance of $800,000 in bonds to finance the improvements to be repaid by a special assessment that would only affect SID property owners who directly benefited from the improvements.

The total cost of the project was a little more than $1 million with the balance funded through state and Union County grants.

Enhancements to the downtown area included brick pavers, concrete aprons for driveways, trees, tree grates, benches and lighting.

In other news, Councilman Rob Munoz introduced three resolutions totaling about $34,000 to cover the relocation of 911 trunk lines and furniture for the new Shared Dispatch Center. Expenses will be shared equally by the three participating entities – New Providence, Summit and Millburn.

Councilman Jim Madden said that Lincoln Field likely will not be available for public use until after the spring due to inclement weather conditions.

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