The story of redevelopment in the Borough of Fanwood has become a case study in small-town transit-oriented-development. Spurning the traditional approach of having a single developer work with local government to assemble properties through eminent domain, Fanwood worked hand-in-hand with local property owners to create a cohesive and updated downtown. This approach empowered the local businesses and helped to retain beloved local institutions while making way for additional growth.
Recognized by the State of New Jersey with inclusion in the New Jersey Redevelopment Handbook as well as receiving the 2014 Smart Growth Award for their transit-oriented-development project, the Borough is now hosting the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority for a workshop by planners and developers facing similar challenges.
This two-day seminar will tell the common story of decades of stalled discussion while well-meaning officials and residents struggled with the challenge of kick-starting meaningful development. And the seminar will outline the details of how this one-square-mile community turned its best asset, the train station, into a magnet for development and also the tools and partnerships that were key to moving forward.
Presenters will include Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, whose background in development brought the necessary expertise to this project; Fanwood Councilman Jack Molenaar, an award-winning transportation planner who put his professional expertise to the service of his community and Liz Jeffery, development director for the Borough, who can discuss her experience in liaising with downtown business to encourage growth and maximize the value of all their efforts.
Building on Fanwood’s experience, the discussion with expand to encompass the shared experiences of other communities along the Raritan Valley Rail Line that are doing effective development work, such as Plainfield, Garwood and Cranford. Participants will travel to those communities to study the real-world application and results of the development tools that will be discussed. Participants are expected to glean useful lessons by learning about the hard-won best practices that have evolved through these years of local redevelopment