Third places outside of work and home support a rich informal public life. Places like cafes, coffee shops, bookstores, bars, hair salons and other hangouts bring people together and build community. Downtown Metuchen already has dozens of third places like this. They are visited by residents of our Borough and the 4 million people who live within a 20 mile radius and reflect the incredible diversity of the Garden State and our nation.
Simple things will be fixed. For instance, people are most likely to sit where there are places to sit. Sometimes windows and doors are covered with posters and signs so that you can’t see inside. Lighting of storefronts and the sidewalk is often inadequate making people feel unsafe. And often the sidewalk is not covered from the harsh sun and elements.
We will work with 20 businesses, three-quarters of which are minority-owned or women-owned, to help make them great third places. The actions that we undertake will help to make these places more visible, attractive, comfortable, and welcoming to people of all ages and backgrounds. Collectively these improvements will make Downtown Metuchen one of the most livable and lovable communities in the Garden State and the US. People will seek out downtown for the opportunity to meet friends and neighbors and the great informal public life that we support and cultivate.
Once these improvements are complete we will share the design thinking and examples of success with a national and international audience to inspire communities that want to undertake similar efforts.