Metuchen, NJ

Downtown Metuchen Wins the 2023 Great American Main Street Award

Morristown Minute
Metuchen's Main Street bridge encourages residents and visitors to "Shop Small, Shop Local."Photo byCredit: Lauren Beischer.

Metuchen Downtown Alliance is one of three winners of the prestigious 2023 Great American Main Street Award

Metuchen, New Jersey's Downtown Alliance has been honored as one of the three winners of the prestigious 2023 Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA), a testament to their innovative approach to revitalizing the area. 

The award, sponsored by The Hartford and selected by a national jury of community preservation professionals and leaders in economic development, highlights the Alliance's dedication to creating a vibrant, walkable, and inclusive downtown.
Left: Downtown Metuchen's Pride on the Plaza event recognizes members of the LGBTQ+ community, Right: A drumline musician celebrates.Photo byCredit: Richard Alfonzo

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) praised the Metuchen Downtown Alliance for its efforts to create unique shopping, dining, and programming experiences that represent the borough's residents. The volunteer-powered group has supported local businesses with grants, innovative marketing, and placemaking strategies.
Raul Ayala's mural, You Can Always Go Home Again (2022)Photo byCredit: Isaac Kremer

Metuchen's Downtown Alliance was formed in 2016, and since then, the organization has made significant strides in improving the area. By leveraging the Main Street Approach and support from local elected officials, the Alliance has helped attract 60 businesses to the area, provided financial assistance to businesses for façade improvements, and established numerous community events.
Left: Lunar New Year dragon dancers parade through downtown, Right: The annual Breakdancing on the Town Plaza.Photo byCredit: Richard Alfonzo

Downtown Metuchen has also seen a considerable increase in the number of residents living in the area, with the addition of 387 new apartments since 2016. This growth has led to an increase in patronage of local businesses, which now bring in $5.5 million annually. The downtown vacancy rate has dropped dramatically from 22% to 4%, signaling the success of the Alliance's revitalization efforts.
Left: Terrace Plant Shop opened in Downtown Metuchen in 2021, Right: The Winter Market.Photo byCredit: Lauren Beischer

The Metuchen Downtown Alliance has been praised for its strong organizational leadership, transparent communication, and dedicated volunteer base. The group's volunteers have contributed over 25,000 hours of service, valued at over $641,000.

Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner, expressed her pride in the Metuchen Downtown Alliance's achievements, saying, "This is an incredible accomplishment, and the Metuchen Downtown Alliance should be proud of all it has done to receive this national recognition."

As a Great American Main Street Award winner, Metuchen joins the ranks of only two other New Jersey downtowns that have previously received this distinction - Westfield and Montclair. The Metuchen community is eager to build upon this momentum and continue to enhance their beloved downtown area for years to come.

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