The Center of it All  | June 2020  |

The COVID-19 resource page for NJ's downtowns with rolling updates as new information, policy, legislation, and funding becomes available. Things are moving fast, so we are adding information regularly. MORE>

Latest Updates:

  • Governor signs bills extending the time period for filing and processing FY20 property tax appeals. (P.L. 2020, c.35 - A4157/S2387)
  • Assembly passes the “New Jersey COVID-19 Emergency Bond Act,” authorizing the issuance of $5 billion in State bonds totaling and other borrowing from federal government. Senate action pending. (A4175)

Downtown New Jersey is providing a series of virtual opportunities for downtown managers, economic development professionals, and public officials to exchange ideas about best practices related to downtown economic development in light of the COVID-19 crisis. MORE>
Friday, June 12, 2020
11:00AM via ZOOM

Now more than ever, “going digital” is necessary to stay relevant and present in the consumer’s mind. Hear about a few of the digital resources that our members have found valuable for both their downtown and their businesses. Then join in the discussion to share in your own best practices in digital communications and online sales. REGISTER>

Kenneth A. Gruskin, AIA, PP, CID, Principal, Gruskin Group
Ken will provide an overview of  MyDowntown Mobile ® – A branded service offering of   Gruskin Group ™, and share how towns have been using it to effectively communicate with their community during the pandemic.
Ray Painter, Publisher, Edible Jersey
Ray will provide an overview of  Edible Jersey ‘s partnership with   Local Line  to create  My Community Market  for farmers’ market vendors to open online stores. He will also talk ways to promote downtown restaurants in the next issue of Edible Jersey.
Kate Giovambattista, Founder, Beyond Main
Kate will provide an overview of  Beyond Main , an online local marketplace for downtown districts and small businesses.
Space is limited, registration is required.

Please note that these sessions are not intended for individual business owner participation, rather it is meant to be an exchange of ideas between those involved with the management of downtown business districts.
Friday, May 29, 2020

On May 22nd, the NJEDA Board approved an additional $45 million in funding to small businesses from the State’s federal CARES Act allocation. At this forum, Christina Fuentes, Director of Small Business Services at NJEDA shared information about eligibility and applying for Phase 2 of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program.

Friday, May 22, 2020

At this forum, we discussed how towns can revise their ordinances and permitting processes now to ensure they support their businesses’ ability to adapt to social distancing expectations once they reopen. The summary of this forum includes examples of resolutions and other resources from BIDs and municipalities leading the way in these efforts.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Farmers Markets are a wonderful way to provide residents with fresh produce and unique packaged goods, while also supporting NJ’s farmers and local small business producers of packaged goods. At this forum, the discussion was led by two BIDs that began planning early with an eye toward maximizing safety for both vendors and consumers. Rachel Sieg of the HDSID shared the details of their upcoming traditional walk-up market in downtown Jersey City; and Rebecca Hersh shares her experience setting up Main Street Highland Park‘s drive-through market.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Downtown New Jersey has been invited to provide input into the State’s reopening strategies. In preparation for that discussion, we’d like to hear your concerns, ideas, and needs for reopening safely. In this open exchange, come prepared to discuss both the needs for your businesses and for your own operations within the downtown district.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

As part of Sustainable Jersey's Virtual Summit, Downtown New Jersey Executive Director, Courtenay Mercer and NJDCA's Neighborhood Preservation Program Administrator, Jef Buehler discussed how we can support local business when it’s not business as usual. They explored new strategies to engage the community through the Support Local Economies and Buy Local Program Sustainable Jersey actions.

Friday, April 17, 2020

The COVID 19 pandemic has left many downtown organizations with budget shortfalls, either from special event cancellations, stalled membership drives or fundraising events that have been postponed. Board members are asking how to we readjust our downtown organization's budget to deal with these new and changing realities? The conversation was led by Donna Ann Harris of Heritage Consulting Inc., a Philadelphia based firm that works nationally in downtown and commercial district revitalization. Over the years Donna has worked with many Main Street New Jersey communities on board training and development, fundraising and strategic planning. Donna provided insights about the board's role in financial oversight, and gave some tips about making cuts to your budget if absolutely necessary.

Friday, April 17, 2020

At this forum we will discuss “what’s next” – how does your downtown recover from economic upheaval, and what can you do now to plan for a time when we’re all back to business? Using global recovery statistics as a backdrop, we will discuss current and imminent downtown retail occupancy conditions, and map out a proactive recruitment strategy to expedite recovery starting in the 3rd quarter. The discussion will be led by Marta Person Villa, NJ Retail Lead and Senior Vice President with Jones Lang LaSalle and a former SID director, municipal administrator, and DNJ President.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Mike Blinder, Founder & President of The Blinder Group, publisher of Editor & Publisher Magazine, and author of Survival Selling Even in the Toughest Times presented his Survival Marketing Workshop on how to market effectively in tough economic times.

Thanks to TAPinto for sponsoring this forum.

Friday, March 27, 2020

At this forum, we were joined by Christina Fuentes, Director of Small Business Services at NJEDA and Erika Calderon, Small Business Legislative Aid from Senator Menendez’s office to discuss programs, policies, and legislation that have passed or are being considered to provide economic relief to downtowns and small business.

Friday, March 20, 2020

At this first forum, there was not a formal presentation. Instead, participants shared best practices and discussed needs.

Downtown New Jersey is an organization of individuals, businesses, government agencies, and local and regional organizations that are passionate about downtowns. Downtowns reflect our communities’ unique identities, provide a focal point, a convenient local place of commerce, and offer a sense of place where people can gather and truly be community. Downtown New Jersey is a resource dedicated to ensuring the vitality of our downtowns. Count on us as your resource for anything regarding downtowns in New Jersey.