Special Improvement Districts (SID), or something similar, are present in all but one state in the country and here in New Jersey there are over 60 different districts. Model examples of a SID include Times Square and Union Square in New York City. SIDs serve multiple purposes. For example, New York SIDs show that on average, the value of commercial property within a SID increases by approximately 15 percentage points more than comparable properties in the same neighborhood but outside the SID. A notable reduction in crime within district boundaries has also been observed. Overall, SIDs are designed and proven to boost business and quality of life.

The Rahway Arts District Inc., the entity which oversees the Rahway’s SID is changing its name to the Rahway Arts & Business Partnership (RABP) to better reflect its expansion and mission. Rahway’s SID was created in 2009 “to aid the City of Rahway in creating a diverse, vibrant, and economically and socially sound community.” For the past six years the SID has focused primarily on the downtown Arts District. Going forward, the SID will focus on businesses throughout the entire City of Rahway.

The new version of the SID is restructuring its administration, so that instead of the single position of Executive Director, it will have a Business Manager and an Artistic Director. These redefined positions reflect the important relationship between the Arts and Business in Rahway. Some of the new programs that are recommended for the expanded SID which may be included are: business development efforts such as micro loan programs and façade and signage grants; business retention and attraction efforts such as the hiring of a City-wide commercial broker which would help to decrease vacancies in Rahway; public safety enhancements including increased security and neighborhood watch programs; public way maintenance and beautification programs including sidewalk sweeping, graffiti removal and improved landscaping; advertising and marketing efforts; special events; and, capital improvements such as street lighting and repaving projects.

RABP Board of Trustees President Joel Schwartz says that “The RABP will continue to promote the City and its businesses by physical and visual improvements to the City, as well as by programs that will attract new businesses and help the ones already a part of Rahway’s growing economy. The RABP looks forward to continuing to support our great community, and to encouraging businesses and residents to take advantage of all the benefits of living, working and playing right here in Rahway!