State Grants Cranford Coin For Construction

$500,000 will be used for improvements in downtown.
house81f9355382a8a07be9f0a228c34038f2.jpgThe N.J. government announced last week that Cranford will receive a $500,000 FY11 local aid grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation, sharing a combined $1.3 million with Elizabeth and Rahway, according to a Feb. 9 NJDOT press release.

The money will be used for pedestrian walkways across North Avenue to the NJ Transit station and landscaping improvements, according to a statement from Cranford's Downtown Management Corporation.

NJDOT will provide 75 percent of the grant to the township after Cranford chooses a contractor to complete the improvements, and the remaining 25 percent after the project concludes, according to the NJDOT press release.

"The North Avenue entrance to Cranford near the train station is considered the next priority area for serious attention given the disinvestment that has taken place and properties left in deteriorated condition," Cranford Mayor Daniel Aschenbach said.

The grant stems from the Transit Village program that Cranford entered into in 2003, designating the train station's half-mile radius as a special area. Being designated a Transit Village includes perks such as priority state funding in some cases, N.J. government technical assistance and NJDOT grant eligibility.

To join the program, municipalities must demonstrate a commitment to redeveloping the area surrounding transit points into "mixed-use" neighborhoods containing both residences and commercial businesses.

Projects meeting the Transit Village program requirements include the Cranford Crossing and Riverfront Redevelopment projects, both aiming to attract "investment in what were otherwise deteriorated areas with environmental issues," Aschenbach explained.

According to a Downtown Management Corporation press release, the town also used a $200,000 Transit Village grant in 2003 for a "comprehensive parking and pedestrian study." Other projects funded by this program include various fencing and lighting updates underneath the railroad bridge, Aschenbach said.

Cranford is one of 33 municipalities or counties sharing about $7.6 million in N.J. local aid grants.

These grants will support a variety of safety and quality-of-life projects at the local level without burdening local property taxpayers, said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson in the press release.
N.J. government
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