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Frequently asked questions about …

 

Cranford Special Improvement District (SID)

 

Downtown Business & Economic Development Office

formerly Cranford Downtown Management Corporation (DMC)

 

 

What is the Special Improvement District (SID)?

A Special Improvement District (SID) is a defined area where a public/private partnership between property owners and a municipality is established to promote economic revitalization, investment, and improvements for those who use or do business in the SID. The stakeholders are the property and business owners, as well as residents within the SID. A SID provides stakeholders a voice in the economic revitalization of the business district and provides services above and beyond the regular municipal services.

 

Cranford’s SID is the area generally referred to as the downtown. The area includes North & South Avenues from Centennial to the Garwood border and Springfield Avenue to Chestnut & Cherry Streets.

  • There are 221 properties; more than 300 businesses including stores, restaurants, professional offices & service businesses.
  • The downtown residential neighborhood includes more than 500 apartments, townhouses & condos. When completed, The Riverfront will add 126 units.
  • There are 760 metered parking spaces available for the public on the street, in lots & garage. In addition, there is permit parking for commuters & downtown employees.
  • There are 396 Victorian lights, 49 sidewalk benches. 23 sidewalk planters & 7 public plazas or garden areas.

 

What is the Downtown Business & Economic Development Office?

This Township office, formerly called the Downtown Management Corp. (DMC), is responsible for promoting investment, economic growth, improvements, business development and being an advocate for existing and prospective business owners on matters that impact the SID. The Business & Economic Development Office works with other Township departments on all issues and projects impacting the District. The Office of Business & Economic Development is a Municipal department not a membership organization.

 

Who funds the office & projects?

The property owners within the District pay an annual special assessment, in addition to general property taxes. The assessment is used for improvement projects, business development programs and marketing the district to the public, prospective businesses and investors. The District provides daily maintenance in addition to regular Township services. The 2012 operating budget is $150,909. The staff includes a Director, Assistant Manager and part time seasonal maintenance employee.

 

Is there an advisory board?

There is an 11 member District Management advisory board all appointed by the Township Committee: 3 property owners, 3 business owners, 4 Cranford residents and 1 Township Commissioner. They each serve 3 year terms and have equal voting power. The Board, which meets monthly, adopts an Action Plan to address long range planning, marketing & communications, maintenance & improvement projects, public arts projects and business development.

                                                                                                                                   

Does the Business & Economic Development Office only represent the Special Business Improvement District?

Yes. The office, funded by the special assessment, is an advocate for all stores, restaurants, service businesses, professional offices and residents within the District. The staff works with other municipal departments: police, fire, zoning, building, health, tax assessor and Township boards and committees like planning, zoning, parking on issues affecting the District.

 

How is this office different from the Chamber of Commerce?

 The Chamber is a membership organization open to all businesses in Cranford as well as other towns.  The Chamber runs networking activities for its members and organizes events for the general public like the annual street fairs, Cruiser Car Shows and the circus. For membership information call 908.272.6114. www.cranford.com/chamber

 

Who manages downtown parking?

The Traffic Division of the Police Department manages parking in the district and the Centennial Avenue business area. Parking and permit information is available on www.cranford.com/police  The Township also has a Parking Committee that includes District representatives and the Downtown Director to review and advise on parking issues.

 

Who is in charge of downtown maintenance?

The Dept. of Public Works continues to handle general maintenance like street cleaning, snow removal, tree trimming; the Building Dept. is responsible for property maintenance; and the Health Dept. oversees restaurant health inspections and trash collection. The District maintenance funds are used for beautification, improvement and maintenance projects to supplement regular municipal services.

  

Who is responsible for renting downtown stores and managing buildings?

District properties & businesses are all privately owned and managed. The Business & Economic Development Office keeps track of available space and offers assistance to both property owners and potential tenants seeking to open a business often matching a tenant and location. We also advertise available space on our website and through social media.

 

What is the vacancy rate?

Despite several years of a weak economy, downtown Cranford has maintained a strong occupancy rate – currently 97% - far stronger than similar downtown districts. While the northern NJ vacancy rate hovers around 7%, Cranford has averaged 3.5%. As of January 1, 2013 the vacancy rate is 3% for first floor space. Interest in downtown Cranford locations from prospective business owners remains strong.

 

Is there a way to get regular and updated news about downtown Cranford?

Yes. In addition to printed materials, we actively use social media to send information about new businesses, special promotions, projects, events, alerts and Township announcements. Email us at dmc@cranfordnj.org to sign up for the monthly newsletter.  For the most current news  follow us on Twitter@visitcranford or find us Facebook@downtowncranford. For a complete listing of all downtown business and links to their website visit our website, www.cranford.com/downtown.
 

Where is the Business & Economic Development Office?

The office is located in the Cranford Municipal Building, 8 Springfield Ave, Cranford, NJ 07016; 908.709.7208; dmc@cranfordnj.org. Hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm. We welcome your inquiries and requests to speak to your club or organization.

 

 


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8 Springfield Avenue | Cranford, NJ 07016 | 908-709-7208