JAMESBURG: Borough gets some sprucing up

By Maria Prato-Gaines, Staff Writer
   JAMESBURG — The downtown business district’s streetscape project could be done in a little more than a year.
   The final and sixth phase of the downtown’s beautification could begin as early as the fall with crews completing improvements along West Railroad Avenue between Church Street and Forsgate Drive, said Mayor Anthony LaMantia. Borough officials estimate this portion of the project will cost approximately $100,000.
   Phases one through five cost about $500,000, which came from the Middlesex County Sustainable Economic Growth Fund. The grant money allowed workers to complete curbing, sidewalks, brick paving and tree planting up and down East and West Railroad avenues.
   ”I think it’s really dressed up our downtown,” said Denise Jawidzik, borough business administrator. “You walk through the downtown and it looks absolutely beautiful — with the trees and the pavers. It really makes a difference.”
   The borough also received a one-time Middlesex County Pedestrian Bicycle Program grant to assist with phase three of the project.
   ”Middlesex County has been very good to us in funding this project,” Ms. Jawidzik said. “We put in an application, and then the mayor goes and speaks to whoever is in charge. I think they recognize that we are a small community but the heart of Middlesex County.”
   The downtown streetscape’s first phase began along a small strip of West Railroad Avenue in 2002. Work continued on East Railroad Avenue shortly after in 2003 during phase two and will return to West Railroad Avenue for completion in 2011.
   ”It’s making it a better walking area,” Mayor LaMantia said. “We’re a small community, and it’s becoming a warmer environment with everyone walking and socializing.”