A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Matawan Needs City Center Development

Commercial development of downtown Matawan has been heading the wrong direction for many years. No one seems to picure downtown beyond the storefronts on Main Street. Think how vibrant downtown Matawan could be if the block between Little Street and Park Avenue became part of a restored city center. Wouldn't it be better to have postal distribution facilities elsewhere in the area, such as on the vacant property where a pallet warehouse once stood on Amboy Avenue in Cliffwood? The post office complex, with its mail processing center and large fenced-in parking lot, proscribes development between Main and Broad Streets of, say, a quaint shopping district with a couple of banks, a breakfast shop, newsstand, 24-hour pharmacy, an Irish-Mexican fusion restaurant, and an expanded library. Entrepreneurs keep testing ventures on Main Street -- and some are currently quite popular -- but a more comprehensive plan for downtown would help anchor those gains and begin to draw visitors with money to spend. One need only look at Keyport to see a host of gaps in how Matawan is proceeding in urban renewal.

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  1. What I think they really need to do downtown is to turn the old Harris Hardware (that was once Foodtown, and more recently C-town) into a Wegman's or Whole Foods. Even with the recent turn of the economy, people drive from miles around to shop in organic stores. Without one anywhere close by, I think a store like that would draw tons of people to Matawan's downtown area.

  2. A niche market store of some sort would be a great idea. I'm not sure we have the demographic profile for a Wegman's, but Whole Foods is an interesting idea. The interesting aspect to Main Street these days is the Hispanic neighborhood nearby and how it is changing the walk-in needs of the local community near Main Street and Ravine Drive. Any "upgrade" to downtown ought to consider their needs and wants for the neighborhood.

  3. A picture really IS worth a thousand words. The white elephant shown in your shot of Main Street clearly depicts that Matawan has chosen a WAREHOUSE to be the centerpiece of its commerce. Clearly the mail distribution center is larger than the former Foodtown / C-town / Harris Hardware store. And it positively dwarfs the bitsy library locale. There is simply no room for anything else.

    I don't believe any similar sized town has configured its center piece of its main street quite this way. It appears that the desirability of Matawan as a viable success in culture and commerce really DOES hang on a postage stamp.