The fence and sign bordering the onetime Steinbach’s department store parking lot on Broad Street, above, will be transformed into a landscaped seating area, shown in an aerial concept drawing below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
RiverCenter, the downtown promotion agency, plans to spruce up the former Steinbach’s parking lot on Broad Street with landscaping and benches, and to replace two stone pillars at the north entrance to the English Plaza lot, officials said in a presentation to the borough council Wednesday night.
And RiverCenter is working on a streetscape plan for a portion of White Street, including the southern entrance to English Plaza, said executive director Jim Scavone.
The peanut-stone pillars flanking the West Front Street opening of English Plaza, above, will be replaced with the brick versions shown below. The parking kiosk will be relocated, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
The Broad Street project borders a parking lot between Pure Barre gym and the office of Capitol Securities Management. The half-acre lot, owned by Schiff Real Property of Long Branch and used by tenants of properties it owns nearby, is accessed by vehicles from Clay Street.
Though the lot is privately owned, most of the property targeted for benches and landscaping is on public property, Scavone told redbankgreen. He estimated the job, which also calls for the installation of a new street lamp, would cost about $12,000.
RiverCenter, a quasi-autonomous agency funded by a special levy on commercial properties in a Special Improvement District, gets no funding from borough taxes.
Why do it at all?
“We have a problem with vacancies at that end of Broad Street,” Scavone said. “It has become more difficult for us to lease vacancies, and even a small beautification project can often help with that situation.”
The finished project will be similar to the one installed outside borough hall on Monmouth Street and funded by the Count Basie Theatre, he said.
“I think it’ll increase the foot traffic,” said Mayor Pasquale Menna, who praised the way the project blended in with existing brick sidewalks and other streetscape elements downtown.
At English Plaza, the crumbling stone piers — which borough Administrator Stanley Sickels said have been in place since the 1930s — will be removed and replaced with two structures faced in the same brick used across West Front Street in Riverside Gardens Park, Scavone said. They’ll have planters on top, he said.
That project is estimated to cost $15,000, he said.
Also in the works is a “full streetscape” along White Street from Broad Street west to English Plaza one on side and the eastern edge of the White Street municipal lot on the other, Scavone said. The project is in the early planning process, he said.