Downtown Renovation Projects Discussed at Newton Town Council Meeting

Credits: Danielle Francisco
Credits: Danielle Francisco

NEWTON, NJ- The renovations of downtown Newton is the main project that was examined at the joint meeting between the Board of Education and the Town Council on February 24.

There are an abundance of municipality projects that will be underway during the upcoming year. The renovations of downtown Newton is the main project that will be starting this summer.

“Spring Street one way, coming to downtown near you summer 2015,” joked Town manager Thomas Russo Jr. This project will start off the restorations. The street will shut down in the beginning of summer this year, after the school year is completed. Paving of the street will occur first, followed by the placement of all new crosswalks.

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The businesses on the street will remain open during this period of construction. The town will advertise in the newspapers, as well as the local radio stations that the businesses on the street will still be open during the construction segment. Even though only one side of the street will remain open at a time, once the street has been turned into a one way, it is not anticipated to be returned to having two way traffic.

The new Spring Street will take you from the theater to the green and parking will now be on both the left and right side, with an hour unpaid meter limit. The town anticipates that the finished product will be ready before the start of the school year in September.

In addition to the paving of Spring Street, Trinity Street will also be paved and two new traffic lights will be added. This will occur, however, after school has reopened in the fall and could possibly affect the school districts’ busing routes. The town has agreed to work with the board of education to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Other renovations include:

  • The ongoing work on the front of the Fire Museum. There were three different colors of bricks found underneath the top level and so they must all be changed so the exterior looks uniform and nice.
  • The lighting in downtown Newton will be changed to LED lights to make it safer for pedestrians walking around town at night
  • Negotiations with the county to amend the design plan to include sidewalks on both sides of Route 206.
  • The redevelopment plan for the five acre lot that once was McGuire’s property. “It is now up to the developers to decide what is right for that space. Anything can go at this stage of the game”, said Russo.
  • The federal funding senior housing project- RPM, will be across from the theater. This will include a community center open to the residents of the housing as well as those of the town and a coffee shop on the corner. Parking will be available under the housing development and will accommodate the town of Newton as well as the residents that live in the development
  • Thor Labs has bought the property across from where USave now resides. They have plans of building a Dunkin Donuts there in the future.
  • There is a plan to also redevelop the Merriam Gateway area which will be a Thor Labs project as well.

Hicks Ave development, which will affect the school district, includes the building of a 70 unit rental housing complex, ten percent of which will be low-income housing. The rentals will be mostly one bedroom apartments with some two bedrooms mixed in. The town is working with the county to determine who will pay for the new traffic light that will need to be installed there as well.

There are many plans and projects happening in the town of Newton in the upcoming years. The renovation projects will continue to be discussed at upcoming town council meetings. The next town council meeting will be held on March 9 at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building on Trinity Street.

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