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Have You Seen South Park Street Lately?

The revamped street will be celebrated on Sept. 15.

 

Only a year ago, former Third Ward Councilor Nick Lewis described a new-and-improved South Park Street that would extend the feel of Church Street and create a new town center designed to draw more people to the downtown area.

Following months of work, the project is—finally—just about done.

South Park Street's sidewalks have been widened and angle parking has been replaced by (fewer) parallel spaces. A median has been created and businesses such as Leone's have set up tables and chairs outside their front doors. In addition, and perhaps most importantly for many residents, the street has been re-opened to car traffic in both directions.

"I really like it," said shopper Mary Resnick. "I think more people will come out to Church Street and South Park Street.

"I just wish there weren't still so many vacant buildings along Bloomfield Avenue,"she said.

To mark the completion of the project, the Montclair Center Business Improvement District (BID) will host a celebration of South Park Street on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. that will include food, music, and arts and crafts.

"We are so happy that Montclair committed to this necessary rejuvenation project," said Lydia Fantozzi, a spokesperson for BID. "We think that it's a beautiful development and we are eager to have the opportunity to celebrate in it as soon as possible."

Luther Flurry, executive director of BID, recently told Patch that anticipation of South Park Street redevelopment had been a factor in various tenant negotiations, making note of one such business,, that opened next to Urban Outfitters in June.

Flurry said it's impossible to isolate the effects of the South Park Street project from larger economic factors, "but it is certain that the renovation will help draw bigger crowds to the area and increase visibility for the district."

BID also notes the recent opening of various other businesses in the area including Celebrity Styling Groomers at 112 Bloomfield Avenue, TiaMarie Beading Studio at 406 Bloomfield Avenue, Twist Frozen Yogurt at 58 Church Street, My Blue Suede Shoes at 215 Glenridge Avenue, and Anny's Playhouse Child Development Center at 213 Glenridge Avenue. 

Michael Restaino, manager of  at 19 South Park Street, said the redevelopment project will be a boon for business—and will even lead him to start serving brunch.

Workers officially  in late March on the $1 million redevelopment project that has been more than two years in the making after initial estimates suggested the work would be completed in Oct. 2011. Work was then expected to be completed by July 1, 2012 before being delayed yet again.

The stalled progress was because of a combination of inclement weather and problems with utilities. In June, PSE&G was forced to  some of its electrical equipment to accommodate the new roadway, which temporarily halted progress on sidewalk reconstruction.

Earlier this month, the northbound side of South Park Street was once again  to motorists after being closed to car traffic in late May.

Now both sides of the street have been opened up to motorists.

So what do you think of South Park Street now that the redevelopment project is finally at the finish line? Let us know in the comments section below.

Jenny Ogden August 31, 2012 at 10:36 AM
I am reserving judgement until the greenery\planters are in. I have to say just the other day I was there- at DD- and thought how seedy the area adjacent on Bloomfield Ave looks. A bunch of junky looking storefronts-so many empty now. Montclair looks terrible. Where are the new stores? Also, there are too many frozen yogurt shops-don't we have anyone overseeing what goes in where? I'm afraid there will be more abandoned stores in our future. Not the vibrant attractive town I wish for.
Robert Cohen August 31, 2012 at 11:02 AM
What a joke... as usual another misguided waste of money. The only thing that's going to get more tenants is landlords reducing their unrealistic rents - and you know who I'm talking about. In addition, you still have Karl's ugly yellow stucco wall to contend with and the jetsom and flotsom pouring out of the corner bar. Way to go Montclair... what's next?????
kaili baucum August 31, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Sorry to say I agree with both comments above. I live here and am underwhelmed by the outcome. I had high hopes but it is nothing more than new sidewalks, I have no idea why so much needed to happen with the median (which does little for beautification and simply prevents the 66 from coming to Church St). I will admit that South Park St. needed new sidewalks, but this is a bit much. I would have much rather that $1million go to a community garden in that awful lot on Bloomfield Avenue and Mission Street.
Wayne Robbins August 31, 2012 at 01:36 PM
I'm sure there will be those who think it's good, or bad - However, I plan on being there with my camera to capture the Sept. 15 activity - let's see how things pan out, and I'll be there to show you.
DMP August 31, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Here is the problem, Leone's food is not very good, so bad that they went on that show with Gordon Ramsey and there are no other restaurants on S. Park to take advantage of the wider sidewalks. I heard Karl's is closing maybe someone could take that space. Lots of money for a pretty street but not sure of long term benefit.
Stuart Weissman August 31, 2012 at 01:38 PM
I think I need to open a cement factory!
Melinda August 31, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Underwhelming is right. Maybe the greenery will help a bit, but i fail to see what all the brouhaha was about. Lots of money, loss of parking- meh.
hereswhatithink August 31, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Who owns that Mission Street lot? I would love to see a community garden there.
montclairdad August 31, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Karl's is closing. We recently bought some appliances from the one in Fairfield and they confirmed the Montclair location would be shutting down soon.
Crafty Spiker August 31, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Another fabulous Montclair project - brought in on time and within budget. Oh, wait - the project was a year late and cost twice as much as originally budgeted. And who has been held accountable for the deficiencies in project management? Well, this IS Montclair - so - the answer is "NO ONE". As usual, great job.
Crafty Spiker August 31, 2012 at 09:28 PM
You could do that ... in Houston.

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