Q. What is the Special Improvement District (SID)?A. A Special Improvement District (SID) is a defined area where a public/private partnership between property owners and a municipality is established to promote economic revitalization, investment, and improvements for those who use or do business in the SID. The stakeholders are the property and business owners, as well as residents within the SID. A SID provides stakeholders a voice in the economic revitalization of the business district and services above and beyond the regular municipal services. Cranford’s SID is generally referred to as the downtown.
- general area (approx. 83 acres)
- There are 220 properties
- More than 300 retail, personal service and professional businesses
- 95 professional offices
Q. What is the Office of Downtown Business & Economic Development? (formerly Downtown Management Office)A. This Township office promotes investment, economic growth, improvements and business development as well as advocates for existing and prospective business owners. State legislation mandates that municipalities with SIDs have such an office. This is a Municipal department not a membership organization.
Q. Who funds the office and SID projects?A. The downtown property owners pay an annual special assessment, in addition to their general property taxes, for things like streetscape improvements and maintenance to supplement what the Township provides, marketing and communications, landscaping and strategic planning.
Q. Is there an Advisory Board?A. There is an 11 member Advisory Board all appointed by the Township Committee: 3 downtown property owners, 3 downtown business owners, 4 Cranford residents and 1 Township Commissioner. They each serve 3 year terms and have equal voting power.
Q. How is this office different from the Chamber of Commerce?A. The Office of Downtown Business & Economic Development is part of the Township government and represents all properties, businesses and residents within the SID regardless of size, location or use and is the official advocate for property and business owners.
The Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization that sponsors networking activities for its members and events for the general public like the annual street fairs, Cruiser Car Shows and the circus. You can reach them at 908-272-6114.
Q. Who manages downtown parking?A. The Traffic Division of the Police Department manages parking downtown and the Centennial Avenue business area. Parking and permit information is available on www.cranford.com/police.
Q. Who is in charge of downtown maintenance?A. The Dept. of Public Works is responsible for general maintenance like street cleaning, snow removal, tree trimming, leaf pick up, minor sidewalk and lighting repairs; the Building Dept. is responsible for property maintenance; and the Health Dept. oversees restaurant health inspections and trash collection. The SID maintenance funds are used for beautification projects and maintenance that supplement municipal services.
Q. Who is responsible for renting downtown stores and managing buildings?A. The buildings downtown are all privately owned and managed. The Office keeps a list of available space and offers assistance to both property owners and potential tenants seeking to open a business often matching a tenant and landlord. Available space is always listed on the Downtown Cranford website,www.cranford.com/DOWNTOWN and included in the Business Packets.
Q. Is there a way to get regular and updated news about downtown Cranford?
A. Yes. The Office uses social media to promote the downtown and businesses. Find us atwww.facebook.com/downtowncranford and on Twitter @visitcranford. We also publish a free email newsletter with information about new businesses, special promotions, events, alerts and Township announcements. Email us at [email protected] to sign up. The official downtown website,www.cranford.com/DOWNTOWN includes a listing of EVERY downtown store, restaurant, professional and professinal service.