Caldwell Seeks Funds for a Facelift

What improvements would you like to see in downtown?

Mayor Ann Dassing has a vision for a shiny, new downtown Caldwell. 

The mayor submitted a $2.3 million grant application to the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) last month.

The grant, Dassing said, would be used to implement a streetscape initiative in the borough’s business district, from the to Lane Avenue.

New sidewalks and decorative touches are part of the proposed design, as is unifying the lampposts and pulling down the Cobra head lights. The proposed plan also includes trimming trees to be more uniform, installing raised crosswalks across the avenue and sprucing up the bus shelters.

"Plus, if we could install two sets of tall poles—one by the green and another at the west end of town—for hanging banners, that would be great," she explained.

Although Dassing said getting the grant is somewhat of a “longshot,” she's hopeful the money will come through to give the downtown a facelift.

“It would be tremendous if they would consider us,” she said at a recent council meeting.

She said a response from NJDOT should come sometime in the fall.

What improvements would you like to see in downtown Caldwell? What is your vision for the business district? Tell us in the comments.

Tom DePrenda August 01, 2012 at 12:53 PM
I think anything we can do to enrich the downtown area benefits the town, as long as the cost doesn't impact the taxpayer. The real issue is attracting different stores to the area. Stores that people will walk up and shop in, not nail salons, for example. We have way too many of those in area that is approx 6 blocks long. More restaurants won't attract more people either, we need retail store fronts. That's why we lose businesses to larger established town centers (Saplings for example). Hopefully this is the first step in the right direction.
Chris Bernardo August 01, 2012 at 12:58 PM
The formation of a Business Improvement District (BID) would be a great start. Consistent funding is needed for: - New business planning and recruitment (Ace Hardware should not be sub-divided, it's made for an anchor store) - Co-op marketing and advertising - Facade improvements, including design assistance and review - Supplemental maintenance and security - Advocacy and partnership building between the downtown and other community assets, such as the college and the various religious institutions - Communication with the numerous condo/rental buildings that exist on Bloomfield Avenue...Bloomfield Avenue has a major residential component...that's a major asset to the downtown that needs to be explored The potential for a joint BID with neighboring West Caldwell should also be investigated...we share the same consumer base. Chris Bernardo 4 Parkway East Caldwell
John Zisa August 01, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Just take a look down the road and see what West Caldwell has done at the Civic Center, Crane Park and the new firehouse, all of which have been tastefully done. Do away with any remaining neon or flashing lights or over sized hand written advertising posted in or on store windows. Keep the litter under control and re-route any trucks larger than a UPS van.
Tom Senif August 01, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Let's please be sure to include a new Flag pole and American Flag at the Caldwell/Kiwanis Oval in this plan. There is currently no flag to face during the national anthem at our local youth sporting events/activities at this field. Tom Senif West Caldwell
Barbara Hedstrom August 01, 2012 at 07:41 PM
I agree we do not need any more nail salons or restaurants -don't want to see any more rat sightings on my early morning walks. And the unsightly garbage has to be addressed. The garbage cans on Bloomfield Ave are always full! Some sidewalks should be swept. And has anyone walked past the old Valley National Bank building on the avenue,there is so much garbage inside of the vestibule!
Bernard McGovern August 02, 2012 at 03:26 PM
As we talk about improving the downtown area we should give credit to the business people who DO open stores (yes, even nail salons) and invest in our Town. And residents need to patronize the businesses that are here and help them thrive. More participation will help to stabilize what we have as the Town works to bring in additional stores and improve the experience for all. The tax base will improve greatly through the fine work of the Merchants group and the Town officials - and the residents and patrons.
anthony j. popola August 02, 2012 at 09:53 PM
nothing larger than a UPS van ? that means a lot of deliveries won't be made....
Westville Family August 05, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Regardless of whether or not the town receives a grant, there are issues that need to be addressed. The garbage on the avenue is an eye sore. The rat infestation that is working its way down Brookside Ave, and Westville Ave. If this is not addressed the town will have a larger problem then unsightly store signage or nail salons. We have a wonderful town with a lot to offer, but somehow the upkeep of the town has been lacking. Time for the town council and mayor to address issues...


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