Almost daily, we see comments from the community about the state of our downtown. It has been a hot topic for several years now, and while some groups are taking varying forms of action, Downtown Bernardsville is actively pursuing accreditation with Main Street New Jersey.
The common denominator among towns such as Somerville, Morristown, Cranford, Westfield and others is participation in this program, that requires a lengthy application process and long term planning.
What exactly is Main Street NJ and what does it do for Bernardsville?
“The Main Street New Jersey Program will help equip leaders and organizers with the tools they need to restore and revive their treasured historic town centers.” The program includes their trademarked 4-Point Approach, that has been revitalizing downtowns by dedicated individuals and organizations for 40 years. This state supported initiative offers towns and their downtown organizations technical assistance and training, advocacy for projects within the district, access to grant funding not available to municipalities or other groups.
Becoming a Main Street town will provide Bernardsville with a long term strategy for growth and maintenance once we regain a thriving downtown. Whether or not we receive accreditation this or next year, Downtown Bernardsville has already begun utilizing the Main Street program guidelines and the 4-Point Approach concept. We are continuing to form a board of directors, are beginning beautification projects, continuing annual events, as well as creating long term action plans and fundraising goals and opportunities.
But before we can continue, we must create a solid foundation and understand who we are as a town. We invite the entire community to comment and share your opinion about what Bernardsville means to you. Please take a few moments to complete this survey and contribute to the conversation. What is our Why? Why would folks want to come to Bernardsville? If you think they shouldn’t, why? Who can we become to turn this around?
We will gather responses and share results at our next community meeting on October 17th. Until then, sign up for a committee, join our board of directors, donate, support and advocate for Downtown Bernardsville’s goals. Thank you for your continued support!