The Fort Lee Mayor and Council took another step Thursday toward potentially designating an area of Main Street as a Special Improvement District (SID), a designation officials say would beautify the area and provide for everything from landscaping and planting, to improved curbs and crosswalks, to better facades and other improvements to downtown businesses.
Borough officials recently hired consultant Don Smartt, who NorthJersey.com reported has set up more than 30 such districts in New Jersey, “to determine whether the area would benefit from” SID designation at a cost of $15,000 and after reviewing almost 20 proposals, according to the report.
At the governing body’s executive session Thursday, Borough Administrator Peggy Thomas told Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich that the next step was determining “who you would like to meet with [Smartt] next to start the process.”
Sokolich informally nominated Councilwoman Ila Kasofsky to join him, and Councilman Joseph Cervieri volunteered to also meet with Smartt because, he said, “I felt badly that I could not participate in Area 5 because of a potential and a future of having a conflict, and I want to be there for this.”
Sokolich, who was quoted in the Suburbanite report as saying that Fort Lee “taxpayers are deserving of a better downtown area” and called the borough’s current downtown “tired” and “dirty,” has been pushing the idea for years.
At Thursday’s executive session he called it “equally as important as Redevelopment Area 5.”
“The rehabilitation of these pre-existing commercial zones is the single most important thing on my mind,” Sokolich said. “And I’m telling you, it’s happening, and it’s going to happen so I just want to make sure there’s a positive vibe there.”