I was thinking about your comments about the DPW. I don't know how many folks we have on staff at DPW, but I do know that compared to other towns our street quickly cleaned from winter snows. To me it was an improvement from years past. Middlesex, Piscataway and NPlainfield were all complaining about how nobody came for 2 days. I think the DPW did a fab job with the winter snow. Whether DPW is supposed to weed the downtown or not, I have mixed feelings about this. The trash is emptied, so I am not sure what there role in the downtown is/should be. DPW in my town growing up never cleaned up the downtown. I thought it was the job of each business and home to take care of their own properties.
Regarding the lights at columbia. I am not sure how they were paid for, I thought it was government money or something...and it was years in the making. I don't know how much they cost, but I don't know that the one time dose of money would make a big different to the downtown. I think community involvement & getting folks to clean up/spruce up a few times a year would help (I think this is what they were trying to do with the day they set up a few weeks ago).
Regarding the apartments- I thought there had been a moratorium on apartments for 6 or 7 years. I have a friend who has a big house that could be 3 apartments, but had 2 official apartments. Went to add a 3rd about 7 years ago & was told they could not. No new apartments. I agree, there are a lot of house apartments, but some have been here for many years. I noticed all the meters on the sides of the tiny capes when I moved here 12 years ago (and thought it quite odd) Additionally, I have friends who grew up in this town (in their 50's) & their parents are the kind of folks that split their small colonial or cape into 2 apartments 30 or 40 years ago. Not sure how a family can live in these small set ups, but apparently they did 30 years ago and do now.