Posts Tagged 'essex county'

Fourth & Valley

 

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I was encouraged at the most recent public SOPAC meeting which discussed plans for the proposed 106-unit development on the Southwest corner of 4th & Valley in South Orange. After many prior meetings over two years in which Village officials and neighbors worked with Meridia, the redeveloper, it appears that area residents are finally feeling that the project will improve the area and deal with potential issues regarding parking and traffic.
Architect James Haley of Haley Donovan made many changes requested by Academy Heights residents, breaking up the facades, setbacks and heights of the building to make it look more varied and organic to the neighborhood. The newest plan also shows a generous amount of public space to be enjoyed by neighbors – something residents said was missing at the Third & Valley development.  Now featured are extra wide (20′) sidewalks – generating more public space and potentially allowing for the widening of Valley Street should traffic studies call for a turning lane or other improvement.

Village President, Sheena Collum said the Village hoped to re-introduce the plan and agreements in January at a Board of Trustees meeting.  The redevelopment plan would then be referred to the Planning Board for approval, then back to the Board of Trustees for a hearing and a vote.

“Third & Valley did not have the robust public process this has had,” said Collum. “Credit the neighborhood for mobilizing.”  Neighborhood residents, David Kraiker, Andrew Kit, Linda Cappaze, Catherine Fisher and myself (and others) got together many times in preparation for our meetings with the town on this project.  Speaking at the SOPAC meeting, Andrew Kit said, “This is the ideal of what a public process should be like.”  We also were vocal about the 320 Valley project that has broken ground nearby.

As the town’s ‘vision plan’ has named the Valley St. corridor as one of the prime areas it’s looking to redevelop (in addition to South Orange Av & Irvington Av), it is very likely there will be interest in other sites nearby in the near future. If you’d like to get involved with contributing to shaping the future of the Valley St. corridor projects, please reach out to me – ken@kenkrasnerhomes.com

 

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New in West Orange

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From the Edison battery factory and new high-end stores opening up on Main Street to Essex Green Shopping Center additions such as LA Fitness and a new Cambria Suites hotel opening soon behind the Courtyard Marriot, it appears that the town’s commercial areas are beginning to perk up.

Also opening this past year is the City Workshop Men’s Supply Company on Main St, and a new high-end bakery and chocolatier will soon be opening on Main Street along with the Diamond Cuts Salon & Spa on Prospect Avenue.  A new diner will be moving in where the old Eagle Rock Diner used to be.

This growth in business interest in West Orange is helping to strengthen the township’s residential real estate market. “Destination downtowns drive housing values in towns,” Mayor Parisi said. “As our downtown improves, every owner of real estate in West Orange will have more equity.”

The greater demand for West Orange residential real estate is reflected by the fact that a much higher percentage of homes under contract in the last year ended up closing, as opposed to the prior 12-month periods.

Average DOM (days on market) are down from approximately 120 days (5 years ago) to 72 days.  Many are also going over list.

Average home values are also up across all neighborhoods, especially in the Gregory section which has an easy shuttle to the South Orange and Orange train stations and is attractive for people priced out of South Orange and Maplewood or just looking for more for their mone

The West Orange Downtown Alliance is also playing a part by assisting owners with the permit process, and provides grants to help them get their facade in place.

 

link to w.o. downtown alliance

 

Colorful Maps at Pop Up Shop this Thursday – Sunday, Dec 15-18

Hand Drawn Maps at the Pop N Shop at 55 South Orange Av from Thurs, December 15 – Sun, December 18, from 12-8pm.

Below is a small sampling of what’s available for sale.

link to more details

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KKrasner Map updated Fnl copy

South Orange artist, Susan Napack

 

Susan Napack is one of South Orange’s most esteemed and talented artists. Head over to her backyard studio of riches at the annual SOMA Artist Studio Tour on June 5, from 11am to 5pm.  More details are in the two links and please find a fun Q&A below.

  Studiotoursoma link   Susan’s website

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  • Ken: How did you get into art?
  • Susan: I knew by Kindergarten as kids kept saying, “Can you draw one of those for me ?”
  • Ken: Picasso had a ‘Blue period,’ what phase of your career are we in now?
  • Susan: ‘Figurine period’

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  • Ken: Who’s your favorite artist?
  • Susan: William Kentridge
  • Ken: Invite 3 celebrities to your dinner party
  • Susan:  Patti Smith, Michael Stipe (they’d get along great) and John Waters (all around fun guy)
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  • Ken: Where are you originally from?
  • Susan: Westfield, NJ 
  • Ken: Where on earth would you like to go that you haven’t traveled to yet?
  • Susan: Earthworks in Scotland (Celtic Inspired land art – earthworks link )

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  • Ken: If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you have become?
  • Susan:  A Chef

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Essex County Property Tax Comparisons

ESSEX COUNTY TAX CHART
Below is a chart of the average tax load paid by several county towns and the percentage of that tax that goes to the municipality’s school system.

The percentage of the state budget spent on education has grown from about 33 percent to about 38 percent during Gov. Chris Christie’s term.

The Governor’s property tax cap may have helped reduce the annual increase in New Jersey’s property taxes, but unfortunately taxes are still rising faster than the rate of inflation.

The link at bottom shows more Essex county towns and gives a bit more background.

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link to more info on NJ tax burdens

Fourth and Valley Development

 

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In a March follow up meeting on the Fourth & Valley redevelopment project, the town planner summarized expectations and a general framework to town officials and concerned residents gathered.

The first meeting in February with developers looking to create a major residential and retail building at Fourth and Valley showed that there were differing expectations on all sides.  The Development Committee had some major revisions to suggest to the developer, Meridia who was originally looking to build something ‘massive.’  Several members of the Academy Heights neighborhood association gathered prior to summarize their concerns and Academy Heights’ resident David Kraiker spoke on behalf of those members.  Village President, Sheena Collum also made it clear that any development  was going to be in line with what the community envisioned.  It appeared that the developer appreciated the input.

Stay tuned for the next meeting when the developer is expected to submit a revised plan that would hopefully be even smaller scale than the above guideline.

Link to more info on meeting

 

 

Art Bender! party, marathon, create

bairdThe Baird is pleased to be an ArtBender Creativity Hub!

Enjoy 24 hours of creativity in and around the Oranges

in support of Arts Unbound

Two ArtBender opportunities will be at the Baird on Saturday, May 14 from 12pm to 4pm


1) Come play and paint with Denise Hayden of Funky Fun Art and help her create a fun funky mural that will be displayed at Art in the Park during the South Orange Summer Night series, Wednesday evenings in June and July.

2) Add your career to the Careers of SOMA map that will be created by Ken Krasner and you. Stop by and post your career icon or make your own small one. There will be refreshments! When completed, Ken hopes to have the map displayed at a public spot in town.

These two events will take place in the Baird Craft Room

5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ 07079
Visit ArtBender to learn more and to see the full map of ArtBender creative hubs

 

 

 

 

Hey South Orange, Maplewood, Orange and anyone else with art to start or finish.

Check out this amazing new art marathon taking place for 24 hours on May 14-15. Below are links to the website and a fun promo.  Get involved!

http://www.artbender.org/

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