AFTER BEING RELIEVED OF POSITION FLEMINGTON BID Director Reflects on Accomplishments

Friday was the last day as the Executive Director of the Flemington Business Improvement District (BID) for Megan Jones-Holt. The Borough Council plans to vote to de-designate the management company tonight. Consequently, the nonprofit BID Board of Trustees is eliminating staff to conserve its remaining funds.

Jones-Holt started her work with the BID in September 2013 and has helped implement many projects and enlist many partners to improve the downtown. She was active in the state’s Main Street Program, NJ Future, and as a board member of Downtown NJ, which gave her the opportunity to network with colleagues and professionals who could offer services for economic planning and growth. She strongly supported the organization’s mission of revitalization, retention and recruitment for Flemington.

She managed many planning projects, including a $1 million federal streetscape grant, the award-winning Strategic Plan’s Six Areas of Redevelopment, the Branding Plan, and the creation of a transportation consortium with NJTPA, NJ Transit, HART, the Freeholders, and the municipality, which has recently enabled an expansion of the Link transit system for commuters.

Ms. Jones-Holt states, “Planning is key for a downtown, but it is a slow progression and takes years to develop then implement. You must set the stage for what you want before you can go out and recruit others to buy into your town. It is also important to ensure that your economic development plans align with what your partners are doing.”

Visible activities that took place during the planning for street beautification, marketing and events included murals, pole banners, seasonal decorations, planters and the South Main Street circle landscaping project with NJ DOT. 

Marketing tools encompass a Main Street banner program, digital messaging system, a co-newsletter with the Borough mailed to all residents, businesses and property owners, and a 
redesigned website and new logo driving the consumer to Downtown Flemington. The App highlights a historic self guided walking tour, push notifications for events and emergencies and features a loyalty reward program. Jones-Holt held quarterly workshops and provided co-op marketing opportunities for the businesses. She hosted a free shredding day to obtain commercial recycling points for the Borough’s Sustainable NJ program and created an “Open for Business” Campaign. 

With her insight as a former business owner of an event company, Ms. Jones-Holt established a year-round schedule of activities to drive foot traffic to the downtown community. Thursday Night Lights was developed as a way to incentivize businesses to stay open after 5PM during the summer months. The Jazz Festival connected two other Central Jersey counties with Hunterdon to create a destination weekend. The Cultural Series brought the historic courthouse alive by repurposing it as an event venue. The Corn & Tomato Festival started out as an opportunity to showcase the restaurants, then expanded to include a broader farm-to-table/buy local platform. Health & Wellness Day was created to publicize Hunterdon’s designation as the healthiest county in the state.

The award-winning 90 Main St project was instituted because Ms. Jones-Holt listened to the needs of the community. “A young man walked into my office promoting a concert he was putting on,” Ms. Jones-Holt stated. “I asked if he wanted to start a performance art space and offered to help him. The Borough owned a vacant building on Main Street that I wanted to bring some life to. It was a win-win situation.” 

Megan was a strong advocate for the business community and bridged a gap with the municipality. She had the ability to assemble a great mix of professionals who participated on various projects and she was invited to the table by both Town Officials and Planning Board to sit on three different municipal sub-committees. 

“When I look back to everything we did as a BID, I am amazed. It wasn’t until I started preparing to move on that I realized what a positive difference we made,” Jones-Holt recalled. “I look forward to seeing the streetscape project come to fruition and, hopefully, the Roger Brooks Branding Action Plan.”

Megan became certified as a business manager by the Rutgers School of Business to understand the complexities of managing a public-private organization. She is one of a very small number of Executive Directors in New Jersey who have been certified in this role. 

“I’d like to thank the BID’s Board of Directors, the property owners, businesses and residents of Flemington for the opportunity to help retain and attract businesses to Flemington and improve the quality of the downtown experience for both residents and visitors alike.”



 

Megan Jones-Holt