Saturday, March 27, 2010

Visioning Charette a Success

70 people came out to the community visioning meeting today at Washington School. The presenters from NJIT described opportunities for development along the Raritan Valley rail line. The opportunities for investment in Plainfield's underutilized properties will increase as we move closer to dual powered locomotives and the completion of the new rail tunnel under the Hudson River.

Participants included residents, business owners and local officials including Planning and Zoning Board members, Council members, the Mayor and our Assemblyman. An informative presentation by the NJIT graduate students set the stage for the "charette". Participants circulated around 6 tables where they offered input on what development should look like. There were tables for each proposed development opportunity:

1) Grant Ave around the old train station
2) Clinton Ave around the old train station
3) Downtown station north - North Ave, Gavett Place, East 2nd St
4) Downtown station south - the area bordered by Watchung Ave, Park Ave, East 4th St and East 6 St
5) Netherwood Station
6) South Ave between Terrill Road and Leland Ave

I thought the participant input was excellent and will help Plainfield achieve several objectives. First and foremost, citizens need to be a part of the planning for important Plainfield decisions. When development deals are strictly behind closed doors, resident quality of life concerns take a back seat to outside interests. Involving all stakeholders in Plainfield's future is the only way forward.

Citizen involvement increases buy-in for critical land use and financial decisions. Translating our vision into reality means confronting the real world. What are investors willing to risk on downtown projects? What prices are home buyers, renters and new businesses willing to pay to become part of Plainfield. Taxpayers and voters may be asked to support tax abatements and will only do so if they feel there is something in it for them. They will need to feel confident in the decision making process, to be part of it.

Next blog will address the question everyone has asked me about the vision study: will it actually lead to real action or just sit on a shelf?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Plainfield Visioning Study

Community Visioning Meeting Saturday, March 27 from 9 am to 3 pm at Washington School. Repeat - March 27 is the date, not this Saturday as I originally stated.

Why are we doing this?: to open up the discussion and planning for Plainfields development to residents and business owners.

Who will be there? Local officials, Rutgers and NJIT professors and students, the community.

What's in it for me?: you can have a say in creating the blueprint for the future of Plainfield. This is not a presentation. It is an interactive meeting in which your input will be solicited.

What is the focus for the meeting?: development of the areas around our downtown train station, Netherwood station and Plainfield West along the rail corridor. The new Hudson River train tunnel will increase access to Manhatten for Plainfield residents and businesses. A one seat ride into NYC will be one outcome of the tunnel.

How can I participate?: show up for the meeting!!

It is important to lend your voice to this discussion. The future of Plainfield is at stake.