More than 20 years ago a group of prominent business and property owners started to meet to discuss ways to improve the economic vitality of Morristown’s business district. Several members of the committee were familiar with Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and the positive effect they had on several New Jersey downtowns. After site visits and information gathering, the committee asked the Morristown governing body to create a BID and in 1994, the Morristown Partnership was born.
Created to address the declining business environment, vacancies, lack of investment and little promotional activity, the Partnership set out to identify, with significant stakeholder input, the top areas of priority to help downtown Morristown begin a road to recovery. The community wanted to see downtown aesthetics improve, economic development that included investment and redevelopment, promotions and events and recruiting more businesses.
Twenty years later, the Morristown Partnership has taken the lead in revitalizing Morristown’s downtown business district by establishing a unified approach, as well as developing private/public partnerships between business, government, civic and community, and in demonstrating a commitment to the future viability of the downtown. Morristown has undergone an amazing transformation and has evolved as a model of smart growth, with a vibrant downtown to supports its rich history and redevelopment success. More than nearly $1 Billion dollars of investment has occurred over the past 20 years featuring hundreds of above market housing units, including townhomes, condos and rentals right in downtown. Hundreds of new businesses have moved to Morristown, more than 400 in just the past three years alone, including dozens of new restaurants. In fact, from the days of a nearly 14% vacancy rate, there is now less than 4 percent. Cooperative advertising, business to business events and cross marketing programs are designed to directly help Morristown’s business community. The Partnership also created and currently sells more than $150,000 of Morristown Gift Certificates that are only redeemable in participating downtown businesses.
The Morristown Partnership has invested more than $4 million dollars in streetscape and beautification projects throughout the entire downtown. New events such as Restaurant Week, Christmas Festival at the Morristown Green, Morristown Farmers Market and the Festival on the Green were created and now attract over 100,000 visitors annually. Web site and social media enhancements attract 30,000 unique visitors to a virtual downtown Morristown each month. A vibrant, bustling downtown needs to be promoted and the Morristown Always Revolutionary brand provides that identity.
Since 1994, the Morristown Partnership has dedicated its resources and all its efforts in revitalizing and maintaining Morristown’s downtown business district. As the Morristown Partnership Mission Statement states: To help Morristown achieve its full potential as a premier community in which to live, work, play and do business.