One of my columns a few weeks ago was devoted to Vineland being awarded a five-year Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP) designation through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. I mentioned that this includes an initial $125,000 grant to generate visible, tangible change in the Landis Avenue Downtown Vineland NPP District driven by local residents and business owners. I also mentioned that the District is anticipated receive up to $125,000 a year for five years to assist with economic and community development.
The recent online survey that many of you completed was part of this initiative, as was the formation of the two focus groups—residential and business—that recently met and resulted in some useful ideas and fruitful relationships.
Another part of this initiative—a local NPP Stakeholder Team—will play a role in the creation of an Implementation Plan. It will combine significant community engagement, local knowledge, and hard data to come up with projects and address local needs and build on local assets.
The Stakeholder Team, which has met twice so far, meets once a month at the Main Street Vineland office. The team is made up of members of the community—business and property owners, residents, clergy, and others interested in formulating projects that will make a difference in the commercial and residential climate of our downtown and surrounding areas.
The data from the recent survey is being combined with brainstorming by the team to come up with projects—business-related and residential-themed—for the Implementation Plan, to be drawn up by mid-February. While much attention is being focused on projects for the first year, longer-term projects are also being considered.
The whole focus is to see where we are now, the areas on which we can build, and the areas where we can change, as well as separating perceptions from reality and making our downtown area responsive to the needs, desires, and aspirations of our community. More details will be forthcoming, so stay tuned.
The last of our quarterly team meetings—that of the Economic Development Team—will take place this Thursday, January 27, at 12 p.m., at the Main Street Vineland office, 603 E. Landis Ave. It’s an opportunity to help our general business climate downtown—to work with our businesses through training, ribbon-cuttings, seminars, promoting the businesses and much more. If you cannot be there in person, let us know of your interest and we can connect you through Zoom.
Remember that Main Street Vineland is here to help. We pass important business information along to our businesses every Wednesday, in the 9 a.m. hour, and on SNJ Today POP FM 99.9, Channel 22 on Comcast.