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Revitalization Expert Says ,”you have to give people a reason to come downtown”

CBD Ridgewood by ArtChick

file photo by ArtChick

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Getting Folks Downtown: Ten Programming Tips from a Community Revitalization Expert Vibrant downtowns lead to vibrant communities. But first you have to give people a reason to come downtown. Community revitalization expert Quint Studer explains how.

Downtowns are hot right now. A great walkable, livable downtown attracts young talent. (These days they want to work, live, and play in the same place.) It boosts the tax base. It gets citizens engaged and activated and generates enthusiasm for further growth. It’s the heart and soul of a growing, thriving community. So if you’ve got revitalization on your mind, Quint Studer says you must start by building a vibrant downtown. And the first order of business is non-negotiable: programming.

Essentially, programming means creating activities that drive people downtown.

CBD ridgewood ArtChick

“You want to get citizens and visitors alike to hang out downtown so they’ll shop, eat, drink, and maybe stay overnight,” notes Studer, author of Building a Vibrant Community: How Citizen-Powered Change Is Reshaping America (Be the Bulb Publishing, 2018, ISBN: 978-0-9981311-1-5, $24.95) and founder of Pensacola’s Studer Community Institute (SCI). “But first you need to give them something to do there.”

Continue reading Revitalization Expert Says ,”you have to give people a reason to come downtown”
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40 new businesses open in less than 4 years in this N.J. town

Downtown Woodbury, NJ

By Caitlyn Stulpin | For
on August 27, 2016 at 8:10 AM, updated August 27, 2016 at 9:39 AM

WOODBURY — Downtown Woodbury is better than its been in years, local leaders say, thanks to the efforts of 40 new business owners.

The city has seen several setbacks in recent years, including the loss of grocer Bottom Dollar, Prya Art Gallery and King of Steaks.

The biggest blow came with the announcement that Inspira Health Network will close its Woodbury hospital in a few years and open a new one in Harrison Township. Inspira will keep a presence at the former Underwood Memorial Hospital site, where 500 jobs will remain. The hospital currently employs 1,600.

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Reader asks What will the new Council do to turn this toxic situation around and restore the vitality of the downtown

Ridgewood CBD

The Village Manager is correct. There currently is a parking surplus on several days during the week and on weekends. This information conflicts with data compiled over the years by trained parrking professionals who performed studies of the parking situation in Ridgewood.

So what has happened ?? Ridgewood did have a severe parking problem as outlined in study after study conducted by professionals over the past 89 years. More recently observations have been made by residents and others that the parking problem is not nearly as severe as heretofore thought. The question then is what has changed ? It is this writers belief there has been a fundamental and dramatic shift the way people shop…..and to a lesser extent how they dine. The web has deciminated retail stores both large and small and this is not going to change.More and more people prefer to shop online and this trend shall remain.

Downtown shopping may become obsolete as virtually anything you desire is only a few clicks away ….and can be delivered. right to your doorstep. The problem we are facing is the death of the traditional “downtown” as we know it. Businesses and restaurants will leave, empty buildings will profilerate and what was once described as a vibrant but “quaint” downtown comprised of older buildings containing a wide mix of tenants will suddenly be preceived as seedy and tired when vacancies rise and business flee town.

What will the new Council do to turn this toxic situation around and restore the vitality of the downtown. Some aergue that a garage would provide the majic cure. While it may help it will not provide the elixir that will get the CBD back on its feet again. It will take a garage AND a lot of work to re-build a downtown that can effectively compete with web providers and mega -stores. We can do it but it will cost money ….lots of it and it will take a comprehensive plan….whcih unfortunately no one seems interested in undertaking and.nor do we even have the skills to create such a plan. At present Ridgewood is in the worst possible position

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Reader says The opening of Serendipity highlights the fallacy of the current council’s views on our downtown

Serendipity Labs Opens Downtown Ridgewood, Coworking Space Ridgewood

Yes, the opening of Serendipity highlights the fallacy of the current council’s views on our downtown. Albert and Paul in particular kept talking about the parking surveys from 30 to 80 years ago. The “progress” and “2020” movements (which produced the 3 failed candidates) were similarly myopic. The leaders of these groups are all talking about and looking to solve Ridgewood’s problems from the 60’s and 70’s. Developers, land speculators, the owners of Fish and Greek to Me push for housing developments and parking garages solely for their own narrow minded view of increasing their profits over the next few years.

We live in the new millennium and we should plan for our century not the past century. Who and what is going to make use of our downtown. What brings in the most tax dollars with the least amount of expenditures? Is our future developing our downtown as the regions “restaurant row,” or should we be looking to bring more corporate dollars? Are massive parking garages and massive housing developments really the way forward or are they product of staid minds that don’t see or are afraid to look into the future?

This discussion has never been had because our current council “leaders” never asked themselves or challenged the public to debate what is good for Ridgewood as a whole and the future of Ridgewood as a whole. Instead, the “debate,” if one can call it that, has been over how many families should we squeeze into a downtown lot or should a garage be 4 or 5 or 6 stories tall. Let’s depart from this outdated way of thinking and move ourselves beyond the mire of the past. Let’s embrace our future. And to do that, let’s start by having a real discussion on what our future might be.

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Ridgewood holding public info sessions on proposed multifamily housing zones downtown

CBD high density housing


RIDGEWOOD — It’s a proposal that’s raised hackles in this prominent community for several years: the possible rezoning of portions of the village’s quaint downtown to accommodate high-density, multifamily housing developments.

Proponents, including village Mayor Paul Aronsohn, say five introduced zoning ordinances that would increase allowed housing units per acre from 12 to 30 or 35 in three zones in the central business district would help create housing for young professionals and empty-nesters looking to stay in town minus the sizable house and accompanying tax bill.

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Shoplifter apprehended by a group of bystanders in Downtown Ridgewood

Ridgewood Police

photo courtesy of Boyd Lovings Facebook

January 22,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, An adult male who allegedly shoplifted several suits from a clothing store located on East Ridgewood Avenue in downtown Ridgewood and ran away, was apprehended by a group of bystanders and held down on the ground until the arrival of uniformed Ridgewood PD patrol officers.

The incident occurred shortly before 7PM on Thursday, 01/21 at the intersection of East Ridgewood Avenue and Chestnut Street. The alleged perpetrator sustained non-life threatening facial injuries in the scuffle and was transported by ambulance to Bergen Regional Medical Center. A Ridgewood PD patrol officer remained in the ambulance during transport. Charges are pending.

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Reader says the downtown will become even more of a place to avoid than it is now

hudson parking garage

I hate them all so much. Throughout the state of NJ and country (taxes, tolls) and now the town, everything goes on the back of the average person.

Now they want money from people eating breakfast and dinner at all the restaurants–lunch wasn’t enough. I suspect that the restaurant owners will not be pleased.

Thursday evenings when many stores were open and the meters were “off” used to be a convenient time to shop. That’s gone.

Can I “afford” a dollar? I can afford a dollar. Am I willing to pay it? No. I also happen to detest valet parking for a long list of reasons–including that they change your radio settings and I simply don’t want strangers in my car or to tip someone for a service that I don’t need in the first place (parking in my own town).

For me and surely many others, the downtown will become even more of a place to avoid than it is now. And we’ll be stuck paying for the garage that’s being built only to absorb lost parking spaces when the apartments go up.

If we were paying more for parking to maintain Schedler as a nice park, or rebuild the dam at King’s Pond, or some other project I could support, I might feel differently. Who wants that stupid, ugly garage, anyway? Last week I advised Sook to move as soon as her lease was up (soon).

I may do the same.

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Tenafly merchants ask to dissolve business improvement district, echoing other downtowns


file photo CBD  Ridgewood

APRIL 6, 2015    LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2015, 1:20 AM

Tenafly’s attempts to organize local business owners into a cohesive group that will help improve their section of the borough and generate new business has run into challenges that threaten to destroy the effort.

It is a familiar scenario that has played out on main streets across the state amid conflicting priorities and unfulfilled expectations. A business improvement district, commonly referred to as a BID, collects funds from businesses within a designated area to improve and promote the district. But business owners say BIDs do not always accomplish what they promise, and several municipalities have disbanded them.

Rutherford property owners signed a petition last year asking the borough to dissolve its BID; the council has not yet done so. The improvement districts in Palmyra, Atlantic City, Highlands and Roselle Park have been dissolved in the past few years.

“We did away with it last year because the merchants said they weren’t getting the bang for the buck,” Roselle Park Mayor Carl Hokanson said of his borough’s 8-year-old BID. “We’re happy it’s gone.”