Stanhope wants a facelift

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:16

    Stanhope-Beautification is one of the long-term projects currently in the stages of discussion by the members of the Stanhope council. During a council meeting held on Tuesday, Aug. 31, Jeff Bottger, a landscape architect from the firm T and M Associates made a Power Point demonstration of similar beautification projects. The slide presentation showed before and after pictures of various New Jersey towns that have under gone face-lifts to improve the overall 'feel' and appearance of the municipality. "We're showing you substantial improvements to your town. The Borough of Stanhope will never regret a beautification project, the benefits are immediate," stated Bottger. "Community spirit will rise, as well as civic pride, and business in town will improve." Bottger said that improvements made to buildings, new sidewalks, signs and street lights create a calming effect in traffic and make pedestrians feel safer. Members of the council questioned the guest presenter about securing grants and low interest loans, including businesses and residents in developing a theme for a beautification project and rehabilitating various vacant and abandoned buildings in Stanhope. According to Bottger, "there is a lot of free money out there in the form of grants, and if Stanhope doesn't go after it, your neighboring towns will." Bottger assured the council that his firm would assist the municipality with pre-applications for such grants. T and M Associates heads the streetscape beautification project on Main Street in neighboring Netcong. Stanhope Administrator Terry Massood explained that there has been an awareness and desire to address a downtown revitalization project in Stanhope. To that effect, the governing body created a committee to look into the matter. According to the administrator, some businesses have expresseinterest in reoccupying some of the vacant stores in the borough. The former Shelby‘s store site, for example, will soon be renovated into a medical care center and the vacant bowling alley will be a private school for disabled adults. "In the year 2000 we received a "Town Center Designation" which will put Stanhope in a better position to receive low interest grants and loans. We need the guidance of a professional firm who is more aware of the possible funds available for such a project. We need the resources of a professional firm to bring us to the next level, and show us a greater vision," said Massood. According to the borough manager, officials are prepared to discuss allocating the necessary funds in the 2005 budget to jump start the project. "The governing body is very enthusiastic about capturing the vision of the future of Stanhope," said Massood.