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On Downtown Cranford Looking "Dated"

I had a friend visit me here in Cranford for the first time today. She said she loves the houses, but that the downtown looks "dated."

I think the DMC should look into renovating buildings and/or providing incentives to business owners to update the facades and signs of their storefronts.
GM March 14, 2014 at 04:07 PM
Hi Michele, thx for the reply. Perhaps I'm not reading into her comment enough....but let's return to the face of the buildings facing the hotel. Look above the stores, tiles has fallen off?!?! Did u ever walk under the tracks/bridge...dingy, gray & sooty. While we're on it. Look at the glorious fountain...hard to spot, correct. I've seen bigger ones in Cranford yards?!? The gray iron grill set as a flagpole in front of the theater, looks reminiscent of the Industrial Revolution....shall I continue?!? A thought
07016 March 15, 2014 at 04:25 PM
Wow. Seems to me, it was rude for Michelle to tell a stranger to toughen up or see a therapist. I agree with Cranford Mama's friend, our charming downtown needs work. Or, you can take her around the corner and show her our quaint new retail development. We have authentic old and made to fit in quaint, your honest friend can take her pick here.
Brian M Kochera March 16, 2014 at 02:26 AM
A former resident and high school friend met me for dinner at the Old City Cafe and Grill. Her first comment was "Wow! When did Cranford turn into Westfield?" She was referring to all the upscale restaurants and stores on Union Ave on the North Side. Very little of Cranford downtown looks as it did when we went to high school 1965 - 1969. Some of the buildings have gotten face lifts and some are still in need. The biggest eyesore to me is that gaping hole where a building once stood on Union Ave. Somebody should be encouraged to build or the township should buy the plot and make a mini park between the buildings. In the "What were they thinking department are all those apartment buildings across from the train station on South Ave. In the past the word from the township was keeping the small town scale of Cranford. WTF! How do these back to back apartments fit into the "small town scale of Cranford"? They are going to contribute more traffic to South Ave especially during commuting time. They will be a drain on the town's resources with very little in return in the form of property taxes. Somebody dropped the ball on that one! It's very sneaky how it was never publicized very much before hand so that residents could discuss the apartments on South Ave before building permits were issued. There's been all the talk about the development along Birchwood Ave off Orange on the North side but no mention of this set of building blots on the South side.
Cranford Mama March 16, 2014 at 10:59 AM
Brian, the influx of new restaurants is a definite plus for Cranford! And I also agree with 07016 that the downtown needs a more congruent feel. It is a bit disjointed now, but nothing that can't be changed with some quick fixes. For example, it's time for Breen's to get a new sign, the exterior of the building that houses Cheese Please could benefit from a new facade or a simple, fresh coat of white paint. Also, the building that houses Back to Nature does look like it's crumbling. Things like new benches are not too expensive but make a big difference. And I agree with you about the empty lot on Union Avenue. Similarly, the first thing you see when you drive into Cranford from the GSP on North Avenue is that abandoned structure where the gas station used to be.

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