Delivered to 15,000 Plainfield "doorsteps" Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Plainfield's Strand v. Montclair's Wellmont: A Tale of Two Cities

The Strand Theatre now stands shorn of its marquee.

For all its big talk, Plainfield's Green/Robinson-Briggs administration struggles into its third year with nary a redevelopment project under its belt (the senior center condos are NOT a redevelopment project). The situation in Montclair is so different, it's almost a tale of two cities.

While Plainfielders recently witnessed the demolition of the Strand's marquee (see more here), and learned at the same time that the interior has been completely gutted, with no approach yet made to the city about getting zoning approval for a new use, Montclair's Wellmont Theatre is breaking ground in an exciting way that is sure to benefit the town.

A liquor license being transferred to the theatre location recently fetched $750,000 -- a record -- and the theatre itself is being redeveloped into a concert venue. Couldn't something similar have happened to the Strand?

Perhaps. But, of course, public officials would have to WANT to make something happen. The scenario in Plainfield seems more intent on giving away redevelopment rights to bigtime Democratic party contributors and hassling existing businesses with threats of bureaucratic harassment and takings by eminent domain.

And so, even in this difficult market, Montclair pulls ahead while Plainfield sputters along.

Montclair's Wellmont Theatre.

-- Dan Damon

View today's CLIPS here. Not getting your own CLIPS email daily? Click here to subscribe.


Anonymous said...

Well said!