12/10/2013 - Division Street Earns Downtown New Jersey Award for Excellence




SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Borough of Somerville, one of the three Somerset County Regional Center communities, has been awarded the 2013 Platinum Award for Excellence for “Built Projects” by Downtown New Jersey, the leading advocate for central business districts statewide.


Each year Downtown New Jersey recognizes the best downtown projects and programs that have been completed within the previous 2 years. The highest recognition given is the Platinum Award, this year presented in the ‘Built Projects’ category to Somerville’s Division Street Plaza. Criteria for recognition are projects “considered models worthy of emulation.”


The renovation of Division Street transformed the one block in the core of the central business district from a dark two-way thoroughfare to a vibrant pedestrian mall. The redesign has created an arts and cultural center for the community with exhibits and live entertainment throughout the year. The borough has recently enacted zoning changes to designate the street as and “Arts District” to encourage artist studios and apartments in addition to allowing for spontaneous live entertainment.


Somerville serves as the heart of the Regional Center, bordered by the other two Regional Center communities, Raritan and Bridgewater. The New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan defines a Regional Center “as the focal point for the economic, social and cultural activities of a region with a compact, mixed-use core and neighborhoods offering a wide variety of housing types.”


“On behalf of the Regional Center Partnership I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the Mayor and Council and to the members of the Downtown Somerville Alliance for their efforts in developing Division Street as a destination in the core of the Regional Center,” comment Regional Center Chair Troy Fischer. “The creation of new cultural opportunities serves the mission of the Partnership and enhances the quality of life for residents of Somerville and surrounding communities.”


Downtown New Jersey is non-profit corporation comprised of individuals, business leaders, government and non-profit representatives that are passionate about downtowns.


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