Main Street New Jersey Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Downtown Revitalization Program Proves Itself to Be One of State's Most Efficient Programs

TRENTON - To mark its 20th anniversary, the Department of Community Affairs' (DCA) Main Street New Jersey program today issued a report detailing its accomplishments over the last two decades in revitalizing traditional business districts in the state. The report can be found at on the DCA's website.

"Since beginning with four pilot communities in 1990, Main Street New Jersey has evolved into one of our most effective economic development programs, helping build dynamic business districts that people want to visit and invest in," said DCA Commissioner Lori Grifa. "The program has worked with local partners to generate jobs, enhance quality of life, and preserve communities' historic fabric."

Main Street New Jersey has leveraged more than $1 billion of private investment and another $228 million in public investment over the past 20 years. The program has averaged a $261 private dollar return on investment for every state dollar spent on the program. Main Street New Jersey also fostered the net creation of more than 7,656 full-time jobs in over 1,716 net new and expanded businesses.

Among its other accomplishments, the program:

  • Supported over 4,800 building preservation, improvement and construction projects;

  • Helped create more than 1,200 downtown residential units;

  • Attracted over $13.7 million worth of volunteer labor and an estimated 899,031 volunteer hours since 1997.

  • Became the first statewide Main Street program in the nation to develop local comprehensive revitalization training for communities. To date, the program's Downtown Revitalization & Management Institute has held 40 sessions, reaching more than 1,600 participants.

In 2009 alone, Main Street New Jersey communities hosted 718 retail and special events in their collective districts, bringing over 722,000 visitors to the districts.

"These achievements are a direct result of the time, talent and treasure that thousands of Main Street volunteers and dozens of local staff have poured into the program to make it work," said Jef Buehler, Director of the Main Street New Jersey and Improvement District Programs at the DCA. "The passion and commitment of these everyday people is what makes Main Street, in every sense of the word, succeed."

There are currently 26 designated communities in the Main Street New Jersey program. The list includes Atlantic City, Boonton, Bridgeton, Burlington, Caldwell, Glassboro, Hammonton, Highland Park, Jersey City, Lawrenceville, Maple Shade, Millville, Montclair, Mount Holly, New Egypt, Newton, Ocean City, Orange, Salem, Somerville, South Orange, Vineland, West Orange, Westfield, Woodbury, and Camden's Broadway district.

Past participants include Bound Brook, Englewood, Flemington, Hackettstown, Little Falls, Merchantville, North Plainfield, South Amboy, Trenton, Wildwood, and Camden's Fairview district.

Main Street New Jersey is a comprehensive revitalization program that promotes the economic and historic redevelopment of traditional business districts in New Jersey. The program builds on the Main Street Approach™ that was developed by the National Trust's National Main Street Center in 1980 to assist downtown revitalization efforts nationwide. Communities participating in Main Street New Jersey receive valuable technical support and training to assist in improving their Main Streets. The program employs a four-point approach that focuses on:

  • Building a strong local Main Street organization that is well-represented and funded by stakeholders such as residents, merchants, civic groups, and bankers;

  • Restructuring the district's economics by engaging in such activities as recruiting new businesses, converting unused space for new uses, and sharpening the competitiveness of merchants;

  • Enhancing the visual appearance, attractiveness and traffic management of the business district; and

  • Promoting the district through festivals, retail events and marketing campaign to encourage consumer traffic.

For more information about Main Street New Jersey, please visit or contact Jef Buehler, Director of Main Street New Jersey, at (609) 633-9769 or