FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, November 5, 2020

Green Planters Made Possible through DCA’s Neighborhood Preservation Program; Gives Customers Designated Space to Safely and Cheerfully Dine Outside

TRENTON, NJ - The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is highlighting a project to create and beautify outdoor seating in front of restaurants along Chestnut Street in Roselle Borough’s downtown business district. Through the initiative, which was made possible with grant funding awarded to the Borough in 2019 by DCA’s Neighborhood Preservation Program, green planters of different sizes and varieties now decorate Chestnut Street’s wide sidewalks to provide people with designated spaces to safely and enjoyably eat outside.

The planters are part of a long-term plan to energize Chestnut Street’s 24-foot-wide sidewalks to create a sense of place that attracts residents and visitors to the business district. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic recession in spring 2020, the local Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP) team in Roselle revised its five-year NPP implementation plan to focus even more attention on giving customers safe, attractive outdoor dining spaces in order to support local restaurants.

“Roselle Borough saw a need in the community and acted quickly, decisively, and creatively to address it. This is local government at its best and DCA is proud to have been in a position to help,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “The Murphy Administration decided to reinvest in programs such as NPP for this very reason – to give local governments the resources they need to positively impact the communities they serve whether in times of well-being or times of crisis.”

For years, the wide sidewalks along Chestnut Street were an underutilized asset, sitting empty and dull. When Roselle Borough began its participation with DCA’s Neighborhood Preservation Program in summer 2019, the State NPP team guided local officials in developing a plan that included maximizing the business district’s sidewalks to enhance the appearance of Chestnut Street and inject some excitement into the area.      

“This project could not have come at a better time to help our local business owners as they have been at a disadvantage by not being able to fully conduct their services inside due to state COVID-19 restrictions,” said Roselle Mayor Reginald Atkins. “I'm so excited about this investment as this is a three-fold win\win; for our business community, borough as a whole, and our residents since there is limited inside dining at this time.”

Said Borough Council President Denise Wilkerson, “As a core member of the Neighborhood Preservation Program, it was so exciting to see this step forward in our efforts to beautify Northern Chestnut Street. This was a team effort of borough staff, elected officials, local business owners, and key community stakeholders. The future of Roselle is bright, not just because of planters, but because we are working together. That is how it gets done!”

“I am excited and so honored to be a part of the NPP committee. It has been a phenomenal experience,” said Adelaide Saab, a business owner on Chestnut Street and NPP team member. “It's just great to know that even on the very top from the state level to going down to the city level that my opinion matters and what I have to say counts!”

Last year was the first time in 11 years that DCA awarded NPP grants. A total of $2.5 million in grant funding was awarded to 20 municipalities, including Roselle Borough. The grant funding was part of a larger effort by the Murphy Administration in 2019 to commit more resources to community revitalization programs that focus on small businesses and neighborhood improvement projects.

The 20 current NPP municipalities are leveraging their $2.5 million total grant allocation with an additional $2.85 million of non-NPP resources from local government, private businesses and property owners, foundations, counties, other grants, and sponsorships.

Since COVID-19 struck New Jersey, the NPP program has also supported grants for affected small businesses, local business gift-card programs, personal protective equipment for businesses, and outdoor dining equipment and facilities for restaurants.

The NPP program provides direct financial, tailored technical assistance, and robust training to the 20 municipalities to conduct activities that strengthen threatened but viable neighborhoods through local planning, community participation, and local investment.

The goal of the program’s longer-term commitment is to help towns build their local management capacity so that when the grant funding ends, they have the ability and the partnerships to sustain the work and keep making improvements. Municipal grantees must show a commitment of resources from the neighborhood and municipality, as well as support from community organizations and residents.  

For more information on NPP, visit

DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including energy assistance, housing vouchers, affordable housing production, fire and building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery.

For more information about DCA, visit or follow the Department on social media:

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Tammori Petty
Gina Trish
Lisa Ryan
(609) 292-6055