Mayor, business to revitalize Woodbury

March 11, 2009 3:44:34 PM PDT
In Woodbury, New Jersey, the mayor is joining forces with the business community to do some revitalizing even in the face of the current economic crisis. It'll require some borrowing, some acquiring, and some developing. In the end, they hope it'll end up creating a better business district. Frank Fletcher is busy making handmade chocolates for his candy store. It's a thriving little business in Woodbury's Broad Street business district, a district that he agrees needs some improvements.

"It's needed because this is a very well established community that is having some problems right now with the commercial corridor; we've got some vacancies," Fletcher said.

Woodbury's downtown has the red brick sidewalks and Victorian lighting, but it also has too many vacant buildings. One of the biggest eyesores is the green building which takes up almost an entire block. It once housed a theater, then clothing shops, but has been empty for 8 years.

"All around us we have thriving businesses; people key in on the negative, they see this, and we're getting people to say this isn't a negative, this is a positive, this is where we're going to grow in the future," Mayor Robert Curtis said.

Mayor Curtis and town officials have introduced a plan to float a $2.5-million bond issue. The money would be used to acquire properties, some that are in foreclosure, and make them attractive for developers, and, in turn, new businesses.

Lee Weatherby is a life long resident and vice president of the Woodbury Merchants Association. He says all of the members are anxious to see changes made to the downtown and favor the $2.5-million bond.

"The merchants can do all we to plan affairs and events to make things happen that way, but if the city is not involved, our ability to gets things accomplished is limited. Now that they stepped up to the plate, I think we've got a chance," Weatherby said.

The mayor believes that in the past, Woodbury has missed opportunities to revitalize the downtown; he doesn't want that to happen again.

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