Priority Of Downtown Revitalization: Letter From Township Council President Jeanne Kingsley
Thursday, April 10, 2014 • 11:58am
The response of the public to our Downtown Beautification and Improvement projects has been wonderful. As President of the Township Council and as the initiator and Chairperson of the Downtown Beautification Committee, it has been a top priority for me to help in the growth and revitalization of our downtown. During the past year alone, I have met repeatedly with residents, landlords and property owners to share our vision of a vibrant downtown community. The public’s input is vital to these efforts. While it is ultimately a landlord’s or property owner’s decision to utilize their space in the way they choose, it is wonderful to share that they really are listening to our ideas for how the space might be used! The Township Council has supported these efforts by clearly explaining guidelines, zoning, planning, signage issues and the like. We believe that clarity in these processes leads to all of us working together to make our downtown all that it can be. We are researching and pursuing any and all grant funding available for improved sidewalks and streetscapes, and the Downtown Beautification Committee has been working diligently raising funds through our Downtown Clock Project and has successfully brought new flags, banners and decorations to the streetscape. Many new businesses are opening their doors, and pedestrian friendly streetscapes, good traffic patterns, and available parking are all issues that a business considers when choosing a location. Local patron support is essential.
Like many towns, the recession was felt deeply by local communities. When Kings Supermarket left our town, residents immediately shared with me their ideas regarding use of that space as well as other vacant locations. One idea that surfaced enthusiastically then and remains popular is bringing a large store such as “Trader Joes” to Berkeley Heights. I want the public to know that we have shared this idea with local property owners; and we have been pursuing this with the Company for some time, having contacted them via their website as well as written and inquired directly to them asking them to consider Berkeley Heights as a location. While we have not received a response as yet, we haven’t given up on the idea. A large business such as that is always welcome as it brings a wide customer base that would hopefully support other businesses in town too.
Please continue to share your ideas with us; we are listening! And please continue to support our local restaurants, businesses, and services! You really do make a difference! As I seek another term on the Township Council, I am proud to be running with Bob Woodruff for Mayor and Marc Faecher for Township Council. Like me, they believe in a strong and vibrant downtown that comes from people working together with a commitment that includes everyone. Together with you, we can build the future of Berkeley Heights.
President Berkeley Heights Township Council