Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Streetscape issues surface on North Avenue

Soil beneath pavers has subsided in spots.
Whose job is it to repair?
Back in the days when Plainfield's North Avenue Historic District was created, the city played a role that now raises a question.

When the late Bill Hetfield and publisher Dr. Henry Johnson and his wife Jan were active in promoting the district of Victorian commercial buildings as an anchor for a revitalized downtown near the train station, the city pitched in with some streetscape improvements.

Among them was to fill in the space between the sidewalk and the curb from Park Avenue to Gavett Place with brick pavers and some street trees. That was about thirty years ago.

Now, earth beneath brickwork has subsided in front of several buildings on the south side of North Avenue, leaving dangerous openings for passersby to step over.

The Division of Inspections has written up some of the property owners, insisting they must repair the sunken areas.

Tonight's agenda contains an item of interest (Z-14), concerning a DOT grant for streetscaping for the North Avenue Historic District.

Could this be a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing? Will the proposed streetscaping include repairs or redesign of the current brickwork? Should the Mapp administration withdraw the citations against individual owners? Who is responsible for maintenance and repair when the City takes on a streetscape project (as it has in several areas of the central business district)?

Will discussion at tonight's Council meeting shed any light on the issues?

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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