CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham residents turned out for the Post Office Plaza Redevelopment Workshop to ask questions and offer their own ideas on Wednesday night. The Cub Scouts also came armed with models of their own.
Overall, it was a productive session for urban planners from Topology, who gathered feedback and wrote down ideas offered by residents during the 90-minute workshop session held at the Library of the Chathams.
Chatham Cub Scouts from Pack 6, Mason Sachs and Joey Basralian, also provided plans they made for Post Office Plaza and explained them to Topology's Mike Thompson.
One new idea offered was a pedestrian path, which is expected to be incorporated into the plans. Chatham residents also offered that they want a more historic look to any housing development, more in the likeness of the Garibaldi building located on Fairmount Avenue.
A parking deck was included in all four of the plans on display.
Topology planner Annie Hindenlang updated residents in her opening remarks before the workshop began
"We're going to take all the feedback that we heard tonight, incorporate it into a really good baseline redevelopment plan that will then be reviewed and then start to go through the public process of getting it approved," Hindenlang said. "The great thing is that we got a couple new ideas that we hadn't thought of, like a pedestrian path, so we're going to look into some options for that."
"I'm glad that Topology held this," Carolyn Dempsey, who will be sworn in as a new member of the Chatham Borough Council in January, said. "It's been a long time since the public have seen any of the concepts and officially give feedback. I think this is really helpful and I appreciate the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the different planners."
Bernard Pane, who owns property on Hillside Avenue in Chatham, was one of the people to suggest a pedestrian path.
"I'm in a real estate related business and this is the future with a lot of municipalities as far as urban landscaping goes," Pane said. "This is what the market is asking for. They're asking for walkable communities, recreation, close to transportation, places that can accommodate seniors. It's a lifestyle thing. This is the new wave. In the 50's, people were building split levels, no one is building split levels anymore."
Longtime Chatham resident Fran Drew took plenty of notes and gave her assessment of what needs to be done in the video below