METUCHEN – Mayor Jonathan Busch said he is proud about “the buzz about Metuchen” as he travels around the state.
“There is no doubt that our recent strides and successes in building our downtown have played a big part in fostering this impression,” he said.
Busch addressed a number of dignitaries, his administration, family, friends and the public during his 2019 Mayor’s Message at the swearing in ceremony at Borough Hall on Jan. 1.
Congressman Frank Pallone (D-Middlesex, Monmouth) swore in Busch as mayor and two members of the Borough Council, Sheri-Rose Rubin and Jason Delia.
In the November election, Busch was elected to serve out the one-year unexpired term of former Peter Cammarano, Rubin was re-elected to the dais and is coming back after a seven-year hiatus, and Delia was elected to his first three-year term.
Busch said the best for Metuchen in 2019 requires a continued focus of expanding park and recreation spaces, enhancing the downtown, increasing pedestrian safety, and maintaining the character of the neighborhoods.
“On this day last year, I had been appointed by the Borough Council to fill the mayoral vacancy just 14 days earlier,” he said. “During my first Mayor’s Message, the council members and I outlined a long list of goals for 2018, which fell mostly within those same focus areas. While we were excited for the year ahead, our list of projects felt daunting. Looking back, it is incredible to see how much we have accomplished in just one year together.”
Busch said the borough’s town plaza, which opened just one year ago New Year’s Eve, is thriving and is a versatile focal point for the community. The number of events held on the town plaza have brought thousands of people from in and around the borough to the downtown, he said.
“A total of 86 new businesses have opened since May 2016, with 27 of those 86 opening in 2018,” he said. “Less than two years ago, Metuchen’s downtown vacancy rate rose to as high as 20 percent, but as of today, only six percent of our downtown properties are vacant.”
In his message, Busch highlighted accomplishments as well as what is in store for 2019, including the possibility of bringing back the Jitney in an effort to continue to reduce traffic in and around the Metuchen Train Station; the consideration of adopting a series of zoning ordinances to ensure developers of new homes build structures that are consistent with the character of borough neighborhoods; and re-establishing Metuchen’s Green Team for the purpose of assisting the borough with its Sustainable Jersey certification category.
Busch further said, as promised, borough officials have taken the broadest steps yet toward the construction of a new firehouse.
“Last spring, the borough hired an architect to assess the needs and requirements of any new facility, which included the possibility of combining the firehouse into a public safety community center,” he said. “In the coming year, we will continue to work on the key considerations necessary with our various community stakeholders.”
At the swearing in ceremony, Councilwoman Linda Koskoski was nominated to continue to serve as borough president.