Courtesy of The Hunterdon Democrat
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012, 2:50 PM
Frenchtown’s downtown among eight ‘Great Places in New Jersey,’ say planners
FRENCHTOWN – The borough’s downtown has been named a Great Place in New Jersey by the state chapter of the American Planning Association.
Launched this year, the Great Places program recognizes unique and exemplary streets, neighborhoods and public spaces — three essential but not exclusive components of exceptional communities.
Eight “special and unique places” around New Jersey were recognized in total for 2012. They are: downtown Bordentown, downtown Frenchtown, and Pier Village in Long Branch City in the Great Neighborhoods category; Broad Street in Hopewell Borough and Church Street in Montclair City in the Great Streets category; and Grove Street Plaza in Jersey City, Waverly & Lincoln Places in Madison, and the Historic Perth Amboy Waterfront in the Great Public Spaces category.
These places have been shaped by forward-thinking planning that promotes community involvement, showcases diverse architectural styles, and fosters economic opportunity, said association officials on Sept. 24.
Commenting on Frenchtown receiving the designation, Mayor Warren Cooper told The Democrat, “It’s a recognition from an outside group of something that Frenchtown residents have known for a long time, that there is something special about our downtown that’s welcoming and provides both residents and visitors with an experience they don’t get elsewhere.”
Charles Latini Jr., president of the association’s New Jersey chapter, recounted some of the revitalization efforts made 25 years ago in Frenchtown’s downtown, located right next to a scenic part of the Delaware River. Latini said a grant received by the borough back then funded new sidewalks and street paving in the downtown, plus a small grant program helped rehabilitate the mixed-use properties and commercial buildings.
“Property owners in other parts of the borough were inspired to remove the old asbestos shingles, aluminum and brick veneer siding from their buildings to reveal the hidden treasures.” Latini said.
“It’s easy to understand why Frenchtown enjoys a growing tourist trade,” said Linda E. Wills, committee chair for the Great Places program and one of this year’s judges. “The borough reaps the benefits of preserving its many historic buildings, which include the downtown’s charming shops, restaurants, and residences.”
For more about Great Places in New Jersey, visit njplanning.org.
Frank Mustac contributed to this report.