BOONTON — The Holmes Library Garden celebrated a Grand Reopening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Friday, November 5. The event was hosted by Boonton Main Street and The Boonton Holmes Public Library.
Ms. Laura Wagner, Former Executive Director, Boonton Main Street, welcomed the dignitaries and the general public to the grand reopening.
Steve Kampschmidt, Interim Director, Boonton Main Street, delivered remarks and introduced Lotte Newlin, Director Boonton Holmes Public Library.
Newlin said “There’s so much to be thankful for today – fabulous fall weather, good company, and beautiful surroundings. On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Boonton Holmes Public Library, I would like to thank Boonton Main Street, Inc. for making this amazing garden project possible, and to John Kohut and his incredibly hard-working landscapers for executing the project. Our lovely town now has a great outdoor gathering and performance space right here in historic downtown. I’m sure it will be used and loved by residents and visitors alike for many years to come.”
“As some of you may know or have noted, it’s not just the Holmes Garden which has undergone major improvements. This spring and summer we installed a new roof, replaced the floors in common areas, installed new (gorgeous, by the way) windows, and are in the process of completing the exterior restoration and painting. Several of these major restoration projects have received major funding from Morris County Historic Preservation Commission. The Library is deeply grateful for the Commission’s ongoing support over the years.”
She thanked Margaret Hickey of Connelly and Hickey Historical Architects for design, coordination, and inspiration for the restoration of our old “grande dame” of Boonton.
Town of Boonton Mayor Richard J. Corcoran III said “This garden and outdoor community space will be enjoyed by residents and visitors for years to come and is an invaluable asset to Boonton. I and the residents of Boonton look forward to enjoying many events here for years to come.”
This project is the largest project of the nearly $600,000 received through the Main Street NJ COVID-19 Relief Grant awarded to Boonton Main Street (BMS) in 2019.
“Thank you to BMS, whose work toward improvements to the town of Boonton has been tireless. Their revitalization efforts can be seen here in this garden but extend throughout Main Street with events, murals, a weekly farmers market, holiday light displays, and decorations, just to name a few. It is the involvement of BMS as a Main Street NJ community that made this project possible, and why I’ve chosen tonight’s event to share a special announcement,” said Corcoran.
The Town of Boonton has been selected to receive a Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP) designation for the Boonton Main Street District from the NJ Department of Community Affairs.
This designation includes an initial $125,000 grant from the New Jersey DCA Neighborhood Preservation Program. Additionally, Boonton is anticipated to receive up to $125,000 a year for a total of five years to assist with economic and community development here on Main Street. In addition to the funding from DCA, the council has approved an annual contribution of $25,000 toward the Neighborhood Preservation Program. The council has made this investment understanding the importance of revitalizing our downtown, and we are thrilled by the projects that will be generated from this investment. BMS applied for this grant on behalf of the Town, and it is thanks to their efforts we celebrate this designation tonight. BMS has been a cornerstone organization in regeneration along Main Street, and The Town looks forward to continuing the partnership with BMS on these revitalization efforts. In addition to funding, this designation offers Boonton access to the State’s NPP Team of place-based revitalization experts. The focus will be on properties facing Main Street from Division Street to Hill Street. Boonton is among 20 new communities throughout New Jersey to receive this designation for 2022 and will join communities like Cape May, Millville, and Mount Holly in significant revitalization efforts. To assist with these revitalization efforts, the council recently approved a new position, Special Projects Coordinator, and appointed Laura Wagner, former Executive Director of BMS. Laura will be responsible for overseeing capital improvement projects associated with the revitalization of the historic downtown district such as the renovation of the Darress Theatre and executing the $1 million Transportation Alternatives Program Federal Grant awarded to Boonton. She will oversee Boonton’s Neighborhood Preservation Program as the NPP Coordinator, and work together with BMS to create visual and impactful change here on Main Street.
Corcoran ended by saying “Many wonderful things are happening here in Boonton, I’m excited for the future of this town and honored to be a part of the team revitalizing our beloved Boonton to become a regional cultural center of arts entertainment.”