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South Orange Government and Seton Hall University Partner to Revitalize Irvington Avenue

By DAVID LACKEY

October 14, 2013 at 8:09 PM

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The Township has enlisted the Market Research Center at Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business to examine the Irvington Avenue corridor and help envision its future.

Student in the school’s marketing research classes will be interviewing the various stakeholders in the neighborhood, including residents, business owners, landlords, Seton Hall students and faculty.

On a recent walk around the Irvington Avenue business corridor, students and professors were joined by South Orange Trustees, Sheena Collum, Streve Schnall and Deborah Davis Ford, as well as Township Administrator Barry Lewis and Assistant Administrator Adam Loehner.

The goal of the project is to develop a vision for the neighborhood that would revitalize it and make it a more thriving section of the Village.

“How do you get people on the same page?” asked Professor Adam Warner, Director of Market Research Center. “Some blocks look new.  Some blocks look old.  Some businesses look pretty spiffed up, while others look pretty beaten down.”

People do come to the area for food.  There are a number of restaurants along Irvington Avenue, ranging from classic American food at Blue Plate Special, to an amazing mix of international cuisines including Ethiopian, Salvadorian, Jamaican, Nigerian, and Chinese restaurants. There is not a wide range of retail merchants at this time.

“There are challenges with some of the landlords here,” said Trustee Collum. “Some of the business owners feel that the landlords don’t make the appropriate investments into the buildings themselves.  They will tell you that one of the biggest challenges is getting buy-in from the property owners.

As a neighborhood that is a mix of both residences and businesses, it will be interesting to follow the results of the research.  Homeowners, renters, students, and business owners all may have different visions for the neighborhood.

The Alternative Press will continue to monitor the group’s progress and report its findings.