SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Friday morning, downtown redevelopment in Springfield took a major step forward, as the town began to demolish the Lyons building.
The property, which is referred to as the Gomes project in all official downtown redevelopment planning, sits on one block of land, stretching across Morris Avenue, between Caldwell Place and Center Street. It had been fenced off to the public for the past few months, and all the commercial tenants had been cleared out shortly before that.
On Friday, major movement started forward, when the corner of the building fronting Caldwell Place and Morris Avenue was demolished.
However, the process stalled slightly, as Springfield police and firemen at the scene realized that they needed to properly cordon off Caldwell Place to protect drivers and pedestrians from falling debris. The project was halted as both branches of first responders worked to cordon off each end of the street section to stop cars from coming by.
Officers and Firemen and town officials at the scene all declined to comment, citing a variety of reasons, including deferring to the public information officials in each department.
During the process, a small group of township officials and bystanders gathered to watch the building come down. One of those individuals was Andrew Prasarn. Prasarn, a Springfield resident had been out running errands with his daughter Aubrey, 5, and son Drew, 2, before they saw the construction.
"My son loves construction vehicles, especially excavators," Prasarn said. "Any time we see a construction site, we love just to check out what's going on. We're also excited for what's going to be coming up here soon too. New stores or apartments or whatever it is. I think it'll be exciting."
On the development front, Prasran also said he was excited for what was coming next in the spot.
"We're excited to see what could possibly be coming in," Prasarn added. "Hopefully some family-friendly things, maybe some good restaurants, little shops and things like that. Just make...more things to do and walk around in the area."
He also said that he was okay with the decision to pause to close off the street, as he wanted to make everything safer.
After the delay, the street closure was approved, and demolition continued, as the corner of the building came down.