A New Jersey downtown area could be named as one of the best in the country.

The Metuchen Downtown Alliance has been selected as one of Main Street America's eight semifinalists for the 2023 Great American Main Street Award.

Downtown Metuchen (Richard Alfonzo Photography)
Downtown Metuchen (Richard Alfonzo Photography)
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Each year, the award goes to communities "whose successes serve as a model" for revitalization that's both comprehensive and preservation-based. Downtowns get points for innovative programming, community outreach, and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Joining Downtown Metuchen as semifinalists are areas in Danville, Virginia; Denison, Texas; Florence, South Carolina; Orlando, Florida; Ruston, Louisiana; Sheridan, Wyoming; and Sykesville, Maryland.

"The significance of this moment cannot be overstated as Westfield and Montclair are the only other previous winners in the state of New Jersey," Mayor Jonathan Busch said on Facebook.

Left: Breakdancing on the Town Plaza, an event in Metuchen that brought a diverse crowd including performers from all five New York City Boroughs and throughout New Jersey in 2021 and again in 2022 (Richard Alfonzo Photography) Right: Main Street Bridge, with the words "Shop Small, Shop Local" since 2017 (Isaac Kremer)
Left: Breakdancing on the Town Plaza, an event in Metuchen that brought a diverse crowd including performers from all five New York City Boroughs and throughout New Jersey in 2021 and again in 2022 (Richard Alfonzo Photography) Right: Main Street Bridge, with the words "Shop Small, Shop Local" since 2017 (Isaac Kremer)
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The winning downtown areas will be announced in March during the Main Street Now Conference. Three downtowns received the award each year from 2013 through 2022, excluding 2021, when no award was distributed.

The words "Shop Small, Shop Local" have been greeting visitors since 2017 along the Main Street Bridge. According to Main Street America, "Metuchen Downtown Alliance truly walks the walk when it comes to creating a culture of supporting small businesses."

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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