Client: The Borough of Somerville, District Management Corporation
Completion Date: 2004
The Borough of Somerville, centrally located in Somerset County, has functioned as both a commercial and governmental center throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The central business district was beginning to show signs of decline, partially because of competition from shopping malls.
To spark revitalization, the Borough of Somerville designated the central business district within the borough as a Special Improvement District. The district, which is distinguished by pedestrian and streetscape improvements, is funded by taxes, bond issues and creative fundraising.
Carter van Dyke Associates was retained to develop the Master Plan for the streetscape improvements as well as construction documents for the multi-phase project. To determine the types of improvements that the community desired, a series of public participation meetings were held to gather input. The final design was developed from a synthesis of the gathered data and compiled into a streetscape design guidelines report.
The design guidelines divided the Special Improvement District into different zones. Each zone was defined by specific improvements such as street tree plantings, special pavement treatments and streetscape furniture. Horticultural recommendations included infilling of street trees, enlargement of tree planting pits, use of perennials and shrubs within fenced tree pits and placement of hanging baskets from pedestrian scaled lighting.
The Borough also hired a surveyor under the direction of CVDA to input the entire district into a computer database. The database, which is easily updated and printed, makes the generation of construction documents for the phased construction less time consuming.
CVDA began working on the project in 1991 and completed the last phase of the project in 2002.