Urban Renewal in Rahway Leads to Quality of Life Improvements for Residents of the Grand Meridia

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Investment in arts and culture pays dividends for local residents

Grand Meridia | A Place To Call Home in Rahway, New Jersey

Grand Meridia | A Place To Call Home in Rahway, New Jersey

It's been a distinct pleasure over the years to watch the city of Rahway work hard to transform old or unproductive areas into vibrant zones of art, culture, and commerce.

There are a lot of factors that one considers when choosing where to live. Some items of import include distance to work, housing costs, quality of schools, and availability of apartments or homes to choose from. Another major factor that impacts an individual's decision on where to settle down is the quality of life that the area offers. That is why a lot of cities and towns have put a lot of effort into urban renewal projects in order to lure new residents and to increase commerce. One such city that has focused efforts on urban renewal is Rahway, New Jersey, which is home to 28,528 individuals. (1) These efforts have paid off with an increase in the quality of life for local residents, such as those who live at Grand Meridia apartment complex.

The goal of urban renewal projects is to take areas of a town or city that have become derelict and underused and transform them into vibrant neighborhoods, parks, cultural centers, or businesses that make the area a destination worth visiting or living in. Fortunately for the residents at the Grand Meridia, Rahway has spent a considerable sum on urban renewal projects to revitalize the city. A perfect example of this is the city's project of turning the old Rahway Theatre into the Union County Performing Arts Center.

A grand total of $6.2 million was spent on the renovation and expansion project that was finally completed in 2007. (2) The Union County Performing Arts Center boasts a 1300-seat Golden Age theater that has been fully restored and a state-of- the-art Hamilton Stage theater for performing arts, dance troupes, and theater companies.

Another urban renewal project in Rahway, New Jersey, that has seen a dramatic improvement in the literary and cultural life of residents of the luxurious Grand Merida apartments concerns the Rahway Public Library. The original library was built on a flood plain and sustained a total of $1 million in flood damage when Hurricane Floyd swept through the region. The building was eventually demolished in 2000, and a new library was constructed in an area that is not prone to flooding and opened for service in 2004.(3) The grounds where the old library sat has been turned into a recreational area complete with a small playground and tennis courts. One could say that the city of Rahway took lemons (their library being severely damaged) and then made lemonade (building a new library and re-purposing the original land for the benefit of its citizens).

The Rahway Public Library now hosts a wide range of clubs and activities for children, teens, and adults.

The long-term goal of the city of Rahway was to use urban renewal to revitalize its downtown into a vibrant area filled with restaurants, market-rate housing, historic buildings, and art galleries. In this regard, the city has been highly successful and works with the Rahway Arts & Business Partnership to promote Rahway as a regional hub for arts, culture, dining, and business. The success of this endeavor has added an extra dimension to the quality of life for local residents, such as those who live at the Grand Meridia.

Vivian Penha of Keller Williams and Grand Meridia says, "It's been a distinct pleasure over the years to watch the city of Rahway work hard to transform old or unproductive areas into vibrant zones of art, culture, and commerce. The entire downtown area has become a major draw for the residents of the Grand Meridia as they can enjoy a rich cultural experience but still enjoy the feel of small town living. Rahway has made tremendous strides in improving the quality of life for everyone who lives here. The Rahway Arts district is always an area hat is jumping with activity with its dance studios, art galleries, and theatrical productions. It's amazing to see the effects of urban renewal projects for our local parks. We're lucky to have a number of extremely beautiful rivers and parks where people can enjoy a host of activities ranging from bike riding to fishing to kayaking. Our close proximity to New York City was one of our major draws for luring residents, but we now find that many who choose to live at the Grand Meridia do so because they fell in love with living in Rahway." (4)

As one can see, urban renewal projects can lead to a great improvement in how people live their lives if done properly. Rahway has taken neglected or damaged areas and transformed them into destinations that residents, such as those that live at the Grand Meridia, and visitors alike love to visit on a daily basis. Whether it's enjoying a nice day at the park, catching a play at the Union County Performing Arts Center, or eating a delicious meal at one of the city's fine restaurants, the many different urban renewal projects undertaken by Rahway have greatly enhanced the living experience of those that call the city home.

References

1) http://www.city-data.com/city/Rahway-New-Jersey.html

2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rahway,_New_Jersey#Downtown_revitalization

3) http://www.rahwaylibrary.org/home/about.aspx

4) Quote from Vivian Penha of Keller Williams Realty and Grand Meridia

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Vivian Penha | Keller Williams

Leslie Stafford
@grandmeridianj
since: 11/2013
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