project leader
Isaac K
335 Lake Ave
(Downtown Metuchen)
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Congratulations for Achieving Success Together!

the project

Exciting work is underway to rehab 335 Lake Ave and make it in to a showpiece for downtown Metuchen. All of the newly renovated storefronts are leased out and construction is well underway. The Metuchen Downtown Alliance will work with the building owner and businesses in the immediate area to create a cool, public gathering space perfect for families and kids. Funds will be used to outfit this space with movable chairs and tables. Garden lights overhead will add to the ambiance. Games for families and kids will be incorporated so there is always something for people of every age to do. Rehabilitation of the storefronts will be completed by the time we start work on the space. This project will help to draw customers and support the four new businesses that locate here by creating vitality on the street and sidewalks.

The building of the place and a sign we have describing the project will let the public know what is happening. The process of making the place itself will engage diverse partners including public officials, downtown businesses, our Main Street volunteers, and the general public. At the end of the initial build in mid-September we’ll arrange a community gathering and meal to show our work off. This will be where we announce our strategic plan and transformation strategies. The twist is that unlike most meetings where it is just talk and no action – we’ll actually show a result in the form of the place where the meeting is held. 

With this project we'll demonstrate a process for creating quick and low-cost improvements downtown. Through thorough documentation and repetition we will seek to transform additional spaces throughout the downtown. We'll carefully cultivate donors and volunteers, before, during, and after project work is complete to create a constituency of local people experienced at bringing positive change about.


the steps

1. Assemble volunteers and stakeholders to develop a shared community vision for the space.

2. Share that vision with property owner, public officials, and other stakeholders to get their buy-in and approval.

3. Order supplies and stage them prior to the build.

4. Announce a community build during the first two weeks of September.

5. Line up "documentarians" who can record the whole process from start to finish through photos and video.

6. Invite people out, probably on a Saturday, to begin putting the space together.

7. Once space is complete hold a community and meal to celebrate space and announce our vision for the downtown.

8. Evaluate project through de-brief with volunteers and all key partners involved.

9. Repeat process for future projects downtown incorporating valuable lessons learned.

why we're doing it

While over 60% of households in Metuchen are families with kids there are not enough activities for them downtown. Similarly, we have a concentration of independent businesses though struggle attracting customers given the existing condition of the downtown. In response to this our newly established Main Street program will transform a neglected public space into a place where people can gather to have a meal and discuss the future of downtown Metuchen. This work will follow completion of our multi-month strategic planning process next month and development of two transformation strategies. Our strategies are a) Family-Friendly and Family-Serving and b) Innovation. These were developed in response to extensive market research and seeking community input from over 426 people over the past six months. Residents, business owners, and stakeholders told us what they want to see - now we have an opportunity to make it happen.


Disbursed Budget

Raised = $5,460.00

less ioby Platform Fee $35.00

less ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $158.01

Total to disburse = $5,266.99

Cafe lighting (300ft, commercial) $1,201

Seating/Tables (4 cafe sets) $1,414

Sign explaining project $300

Games (Misc Board games, tossing games) $1,251.99

Film crew and photographer to document project $600

and Community Meal (for 50 people) $500


Original Budget

The breakdown of specific budget items is as follows:

Cafe lighting (300ft, commercial) $1,201;

Seating/Tables (8 cafe sets) $2,314;

Sign explaining project $300;

Games (Misc Board games, tossing games) $85;

Film crew and photographer to document project $600;

and Community Meal (for 50 people) $500.

The total of all expenditures is $5,000. Any amount of revenue raised in excess of this will be dedicated to similar placemaking projects throughout the downtown.

Subtotal = $5,000

ioby Platform Fee $35

ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $150

Total to raise = $5,185



Congratulations for Achieving Success Together!

So pumped that our 21 major donors and several smaller donors at our fundraiser last night helped us secure the maximum matching funds from Edward Jones. Further, we exceeded our overall fundraising goal which is awesome. Huge thank you to Keith Timko, his son, and nieces who made a great team running the fundraiser last night. Was great meeting over 30 people who care so much about their town. Because of you great things are happening in Metuchen.

Help Us Get Over the Hump Fundraiser

Join us at Hailey's Harp-cade at 6:30 tonight to help Get Us Over the Hump. Hailey's is located at 15 Station Place. We'll have games, food, and fun as we work towards meeting our goal. Hope to see you there!


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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