Downtown New Jersey Recognizes Achievements in Placemaking at Annual Conference

Downtown New Jersey (DNJ) celebrated placemaking projects and initiatives intended to help New Jersey small businesses and downtowns survive and thrive during the shutdown and capacity limitations associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The awards were presented at a virtual ceremony during the NJ Downtown Conference.

The premiere downtown economic development event of the year, the DNJ Annual Conference hosts industry experts who provide insights into downtown management best practices, as well as development, business and retail market trends. The conference provides not only an opportunity to learn the latest trends happening in downtowns, but also opportunity to network with peers.

Nominations were accepted in two categories – early action and winning winter. Nominee categories also acknowledged the varying capacity of downtown districts, from all-volunteer led groups to BIDs with more significant staff and budgetary resources.

“This is the first ever Downtown New Jersey Placemaking Awards. In a normal year, we would gather in-person to celebrate projects, programs, and leaders at the Downtown Excellence Awards, ,” DNJ’s Executive Director, Courtenay Mercer said. “Since we could not do a larger program this year, we wanted to recognize excellent placemaking projects and initiatives helping small business cope with the economic strain of COVID-19.”

Joining Downtown New Jersey in recognizing excellence in placemaking was AARP New Jersey, who sponsored the event because these community efforts align with their own Livable Communities initiative.