Support the South Orange Village Center Alliance
Thursday, August 1, 2013 • 7:50am
By now all of you should know about the South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA). SOVCA is dedicated to strengthening our business district through recruitment and retention of new businesses, supporting cultural activities, making the village a cleaner, safer and more attractive environment, and promoting our local businesses.
The SOVCA board began its work just over a year ago, while Lisa Hackett was hired as the Executive Director this past January.
While serving on the BOT I was a huge proponent of the formation of a Special Improvement District in South Orange, and supporter of SOVCA once formed, serving on the SOVCA Board through May of this year.
In 2012/2013 SOVCA launched a new web site as well as a mobile site for smart phones, hired a two man crew to consistently and constantly clean our village center, worked with the Village on the groundbreaking for the Gateway project (aka the Beifus project) and sponsored G fest—a classic BMW car event that brought hundreds of car enthusiasts to South Orange. This is in addition to work continued from Main Street South Orange (the SOVCA predecessor organization) including aggressive business recruitment, design support for merchants, managing the Farmers Market and managing the Downtown after Sundown concerts.
In the formative months of their operation I feel that SOVCA has certainly met my expectations. I am particularly excited by the perceptible change in the cleanliness of the village center. SOVCA, in conjunction with South Orange DPW, also worked hard this summer to assure that the planters are alive and gorgeous.
And I’m impressed with the tenant recruitment work going on through SOVCA. Falafal- ley yours is a great addition to the Village, as is the popular new shoe store “CMB Kicks”. Tito’s Burritos will be an amazing spot when it opens later this year. I am hopeful that SOVCA’s business recruitment outreach will bring news of other exciting new businesses later this year.
SOVCA is largely a volunteer organization. With one full time employee and a two part time street cleaners, SOVCA must rely on residents to help with its efforts. Much work is done by the SOVCA Board, but when it comes to fundraising and events, the organization needs help. The town needs large-scale events to attract new people (and potential new customers) to South Orange, but it can’t be done with the SOVCA staff alone. So please call Lisa Hackett at (973) 763-6899 to offer your support. (I promise she is really, really nice and will find you something interesting to help with….)
I recently heard rumor that there was a group looking to make changes at the Farmer’s Market and that they were considering a protest outside of Village Hall. Protest? Yikes! It would be so much more productive if the group instead contacted SOVCA with their ideas for the market, and better yet, if those individuals would volunteer to work with Lisa to make changes—if indeed those changes are feasible. All to say if you have an idea or anything you want to get done—contact SOVCA and consider giving your volunteer time to the organization.
South Orange’s village center is great—but it can be even better. SOVCA’s staff and volunteers are also wonderful, but they need help. This is a case where it really does take a Village to help a village. So please offer them your support.
A monthly column about issues near and dear to South Orange, by Trustee Emeritus Nancy Gould.
The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TheAlternativePress.com or anyone who works for TheAlternativePress.com. TheAlternativePress.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.