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How Would You Improve Downtown Matawan?

The council will discuss the Main Street business district at their council meeting Tuesday.

What changes would you make to improve Main Street in Matawan?

The borough has long been home to a quiet business district that combines a number of historic buildings, like the big blue mansion and Burrowes Mansion, with a number of restaurants, bakeries and small businesses. Main Street, however, is also home to stalled redevelopment projects like the approved mixed use property at C-Town.

The Matawan Borough Council will discuss the revitalization of Main Street during the workshop portion of their April 2 meeting. No action will be taken but there will be time for public comment during the meeting.

How would you revitalize Main Street in Matawan? Tell us in the comment section below.

Denise Reisert April 01, 2013 at 10:28 PM
I love downtown. It could use a face lift though. The most important thing that needs to be done is to fix the railroad track crossing on Main Street!!!! I cross it every day and feel as if my car is going to just fall apart one of these crossings! Denise Reisert
Aberdeen Guy April 01, 2013 at 10:41 PM
The picture above is a perfect representation of main street. Run down and depressing. That Welcome to Matawan sign was probably put up in 1970 which is probably the last time any effort was put into the downtown area. Rome wasn't built in a day though. Pave your municipal parking lots, put some some new signage, and put some flowers and mulch down in the beds around the trees on main street. Start small and show some effort and then maybe you'll convince me to frequent the shops on main street. Form a main street matawan committee with people who are actually interested in seeing the area improve and let me know where to sign up. Look at other towns with nice main street areas and learn from them. Check out Hightstown's main street committee, http://www.downtownhightstown.org/about-us Get the state involved in trying to improve the area, http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/drmi.html
Joe Carelli April 01, 2013 at 11:21 PM
Turn Main and Broad into 1 way streets from rte 34 to Memorial Park. Expand the sidewalks. Use pavers and cobblestones instead of asphalt. Have bike racks and benches. Allow more outside dining. Have the utilities run underground and plant more shade trees. And, zone away the 3rd world businesses or it will always be a 3rd world downtown. If you say it can't be done, take a look at Main St. in North East Maryland. It's home to a family favorite, Woody's Crab House. Matawan is not Freehold or Red Bank, but we can certainly be something as charming as North East MD.
Diana Medina April 02, 2013 at 02:09 AM
Bring in Trader Joe's, a few bistros, a small book store and a small toy shop to start. Create a pocket park and a couple of seating areas. Throw in some bike racks. Update he facade of some of the buildings (especially the old dollar store).
LGA April 02, 2013 at 02:55 AM
Get rid of the political hacks running the town! Replace them with people who actually want to develop Matawam. Hell, they struck down the Quick Check by the train station in favor of a parking lot. Really? Its horrible! I think that old gas station by the old 7/11 is owned by a politician. Don't see anything positive ever happening in Matawan. Matawan could be like Keyport, not Keansburg.
Ali April 02, 2013 at 03:54 AM
I think Terhune Park could use a facelift. It's such a nice little area with a lot of room for kids to run around, but it could use some better equipment. If the park was better, more people would take their kids there for play dates and maybe decide to eat somewhere on Main St. or look at the shops. It would also be nice to have some kind of outdoor sitting area where people could meet up for lunch or dinner. Everything seems so contained right now. Seems like a lot of people would be interested in helping out. I'm a junior in the Interior Design program at Kean and would love to help out too, but it needs to be coordinated by the city.
Pat April 02, 2013 at 01:21 PM
Main Street, from the train station to downtown is a hole. There is no leadership or an interest in changing things. All the local governments are interested in is raising taxes, creating jobs for family and friends and giving in to the teacer's unions. Take a good look at Main Street. It's our future if things don't change, and they won't. Get used to it.
Ashley Rowe April 02, 2013 at 01:30 PM
Get rid of the run down building at the corner of High St. and Main St. across from the train station. Put another business in there or turn it into a park, so people can enjoy Lake Matawan. Many people come and go and pass on that train and this is the impression they're getting of Matawan.
ChristineBalint April 02, 2013 at 01:36 PM
Provide a financial incentive such as a grant, tax break or refund, to Main Street property owners to replace their dated or unattractive store fronts, worn siding and even signage with designs that are more historically acurate and appealing, such as ones that use wide stile doors rather than the most economical doors with 2" clear anodized aluminum frames. Building owners who don't call Matawan their home don't always realize or care that spending more on storefront and facade improvements will attract better tenents willing to pay higher rents while helping to improve Main St. atmosphere. I also agree with Joe C regards moving utility lines underground and widening sidewalks for more pedestrian friendliness and outdoor dining space. Its done in successful new town center plans everywhere, and while we can't widen Main St., sacrificing 2 way traffic could be a fine solution if the connecting streets to Broad St were optimized for auto and foot traffic.
JM April 02, 2013 at 01:56 PM
Knock down that hideous C-Town and build the mixed use structure they have been talking about for years. Freehold is so much harder to get to and look how much tax revenue they generate. It wouldn't take much to gentrify that area, just some vision and some tax incentives.
F.L. April 02, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Matawan and Aberdeen will never be a place to shop, dine or bring your family unless the residents remove the garbage politicians in both towns. Everyone talks about what should be done, but no one will ever act to restore the nice towns that they both used to be. I have lived here since the sixties and the progress of both towns has gone downhill every year, with nothing to show except high property taxes.
Hattie Nuff April 02, 2013 at 08:05 PM
The old Foodtown would be a great place for a community playhouse. It works in other towns (Atlantic Highlands) and would bring in people to dine in the restaurants, a book store, specialty shops would be a great draw. I don't understand why there is not an employee in the boro that is not looking into any grants/funding. Downtown Matawan is an old downtown with small facilities and only small business can survive there. The way it looks now, it is difficult for anyone starting out or looking for a place to open a business to imagine succeeding in Matawan. This dead horse has been beaten to death for far too many years now, and it is time for the present Mayor and Council to put some real effort into the downtown.
Michael E. April 02, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Don't you like the "Day Workers" from the train tracks, at the 7/11, and Quik Check. Gives the area a wonderful reputation. Thinking we should enforce the laws already on the books.
Burt Macklin April 02, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Most of what people have said is true. Main Street is an eyesore but it has potential. The main thing is to attract the right businesses. You cant invest in things like running power lines under ground and redoing sidewalks with out making sure you have the rights stores to attract customers. Those weird little grocery stores need to go. They just go out of business in 3 months and then a new one replaces it. A coffee shop could work since they are charming and there seems to be demand considering how packed starbucks gets. People have said bookstores but honestly, who buys books anymore. I get that they add charm but they would go out of business. You need an anchor store to attract the masses and hopefully generate business for the other small shops around. Movie theatres and bowling alleys are great attractions but unfortunately, Aberdeen already has those. Trader Joes would do the trick but i dont think they would come to Matawan. Maybe something that is uncommon here but is established elsehwere like in-and-out burger, chic-fil-a, etc.
paul April 03, 2013 at 02:26 AM
I suggest Matawan invest in bringing in qualified professional that have no vested interest in investing in Matawan but want to succeed in planning a revitalization plan that the town can follow, I would suggest inviting People for Public Spaces (www.pps.org) to come and hold a free work session with the community. The solution to downtown is the surrounding neighborhoods and how they can feed into Matawan. Rather than townships competing with each other they should look at what each can offer and what the other does not.
Michele April 03, 2013 at 02:54 AM
Ditto, Diana!
Peggy Devlin Blazewicz April 03, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Artwork! Engage local artists and local colleges to submit ideas!
Truenorth_360 April 03, 2013 at 12:53 PM
When I moved here 20 years ago, I really enjoyed the character of the old victorian shops on Main Street, the old hardware store which had everything etc. They were all knocked down or moved to a larger store which eventually failed.....I always wondered why? People like to be be around old charming areas where they feel comfortable walking around. When people feel comfortable they stay and spend money. When they spend money they create revenue and bring much needed tax dollars into the community. We need to encourage new business to open up and bring families back....no wait the families are already here they just need a place to go. Ice cream parlor small movie theater specialty sandwich/soup shop Bicycle store Antiques store Book store with Lounge and coffee area small lighting store specialty backpacking/ sporting good store specialty food store Art store Music Store Dry Cleaners by train antique street lighting safe parking area
Pat G. May 24, 2013 at 04:04 PM
I've been here my whole life-I miss Carl from harris hardware-We had a pizza parlor- We had stores that locals owned. P.S. In the 80's Glenn Pike was going to put a new roof on the travel agent-The Historical society would let him take the roof sign down fore one day-I think they have held this town down. P.S.I really think That Carl &His wife where the best & could be trusted.

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