A new approach to downtown development.

Fellow Bernardsville Resident,

For years, the local Democrat candidates for borough council have made an issue of our downtown development. Yet they never come up with viable solutions that make fiscal sense.

We believe we need to take an entirely new approach.

Let’s first look at the reasons for why many downtowns in this area of New Jersey are where they are today.

First, many downtowns did not survive the invasion of the malls 20+ years ago. Bernardsville has two of the most successful malls from that era 20 minutes away in either direction. Our downtown survived that invasion, many did not. The others either ceased to exist or were dramatically downsized.

Now to the present, the Internet comes of age and everyone is buying a significant percentage of their goods on line. Those malls (and ALL brick and mortar retailers) are slowly dying. Bernardsville is finally showing the affects.

Since brick and mortar retail is dying, the only types of retail establishments that have a chance are those where customers get SERVICE, not goods that are delivered to their office or homes any more. Those would be restaurants, fast food, beauty parlors, supermarkets, nail salons, banks, etc.

Compared to our neighbors, we have fared pretty well. Basking Ridge, Mendham, Far Hills, Bedminster or any other nearby town don’t have a more vibrant or larger downtown than us. Yet, the local democrat candidates have been talking about this for years. All we hear is complaining and no definitive plans. What is their plan, how would it work and what are the costs? Voters want more than empty complaints and promises.

As you can see, we strongly disagree with those who believe our downtown area is the cause of our real estate values moving south. In fact, a more direct contributor has been the rental housing and property maintenance situation, leading to a deterioration of our community. This has resulted in neighborhoods over run with problems and has immeasurably hurt our borough’s reputation, especially in comparison to neighboring towns.

The housing and property maintenance issues are the long term, strategic problems we need to solve and now is the time to do it.

– The Bernardsville Republican Municipal Committee

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