By LINDA G. RASTELLI
Fourteen months ago, the Municipal Land Use Center, a federally-funded, anti-sprawl think tank based at the College of New Jersey in Ewing, chose eight central New Jersey towns to share in $300,000 to come up with ways to make their communities more livable. Fair Haven was among them.
Using its $40,000 grant, the borough is now in the midst of a “visioning” process to determine, among other goals, how to make its bifurcated business district half old-fashioned downtown, half a hodgepodge of strip malls and car-centric stores more appealing to pedestrians and bicyclists. The Project for Public Spaces, a not-for-profit planning group from New York, has been leading a series of public forums, seeking input.
Mike Halfacre, a lifelong Fair Haven resident and avid bicyclist (he’s competed in numerous triathalons), is in his first year as mayor. He spoke to redbankgreen about the visioning effort last week at his office in Little Silver, where he practices real estate law.
Whats so special about Fair Haven that it was selected for the grant program?
Fair Haven has some unique challenges. The other recipients of the grant were all predominantly cities with downtowns that are much more developed than Fair Haven’s. Weve a blank slate, in a way.
Our main street is a very busy road and we want to sort of reverse engineer it and make it a more pedestrian friendly place. I think thats what attracted [the Municipal Land Use Center] the opportunity to effect some pedestrian-oriented advancements.