Perth Amboy & Springfield Receive Funding For Local Planning Projects

STATE — Together North Jersey announced funding today for three projects through its Local Demonstration Project Program (LDP) for Morristown, Perth Amboy and Springfield Township. These projects were selected from twelve applications received in April, as part of Round II submissions. An additional three projects will be announced in the Fall of 2013 and additional projects are slated for January.

The LDP Program is a major component of Together North Jersey, a regional collaborative planning initiative currently underway in the 13-county North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority region of New Jersey. Together North Jersey and its members are working to create a comprehensive and balanced plan that invests in the regions existing communities to make housing, jobs, educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities more easily accessible.

The LDP Program is intended to provide technical assistance to local partners throughout the region to undertake strategic planning activities promoting sustainable, livable, and transit-oriented development, and advance the broader goals of Together North Jersey. Partnerships of local municipalities, counties, nongovernmental organizations, community development corporations and other interested parties can apply to participate in the LDP Program through a competitive selection process.

Morristown will use their LDP funding to create a design manual for their “parklet” program which can then be used as a model for similar projects across the state. The grant will also help them implement a parklet in their community. A parklet is a small public park that is built in the street, usually in the location of what used to be a parking space. The goal is to increase green space, create a pedestrian-friendly downtown, provide areas for passive recreation, and provide a showcase for public art.

“We anticipate that this first parklet will serve as a a model for future parklets and small open spaces in our town” said Daniel Hernandez, Planning Director. Mayor Tim Dougherty also expressed great enthusiasm – “These types of projects that are generated from community ideas help to enhance our already vibrant and accessible downtown. Our town planners are always looking for new and creative opportunities to make Morristown a more livable, welcoming, green place for all our residents.”

The City of Perth Amboy will use their grant to put together a station-area plan for the land within half a mile of their train station. The plan will be used to support the goal of creating a transit overlay district and achieve Transit Village designation. Objectives include raising transit ridership, addressing growth, and encouraging investment in the transit-accessible area.

The Township of Springfield’s project will consist of a vision-exercise to adopt a walkable downtown. The project will be done in conjunction with the Township’s ongoing downtown redevelopment plan process and will result in recommendations that help to limit the automobile-oriented nature of the area. It will seek to improve bus route and stop locations, increase the footprint of the downtown, address environmental issues (such as the presence of flood prone areas), and work to integrate additional aspects of the arts into the downtown. The study will also focus on ensuring an adequate supply and convenient parking locations.

“We hope this project will leave the Township of Springfield with a clear vision of how we can create a truly ‘walkable’ downtown and parking options for our residents, “ said Mayor David Amlen “We believe this will help Springfield to continue to be attractive to residents, business and visitors.”

Work on these projects will begin this summer and conclude before the end of the year.

An additional nine projects are currently under review for other counties and cities in the region. An announcement for three of those projects is expected in October, with the rest following. Three other projects, announced in April, are currently underway.

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