City Council introduced an ordinance last week to officially change the name of the downtown Special Improvement District (SID).
The measure (O-16-17) would change the name of the Rahway Arts District to the Rahway Arts and Business Partnership, amending Chapter 97, Special Improvement District, of the code of the city. The ordinance was introduced by a unanimous 8-0 vote at the council’s June 12 combined meeting and is scheduled for a public hearing and final approval at the combined meeting on July 10.
The Rahway Arts and Business Partnership (RABP) is run by a full-time business manager, a position created last year between the RABP and city’s economic development specialist position. It has been going by the name Rahway Arts and Business Partnership (RABP) for a couple of years after several years as the Rahway Arts District.
In 2010, the city transferred management of the SID from the now-defunct Rahway Center Partnership to the Rahway Arts District. The Rahway Arts District has been going by the name Rahway Arts and Business Partnership for a couple of years but this move will make the change official.
City Council approved the expansion of the Special Improvement District beyond its downtown borders to include all commercial properties throughout the city. The original SID, created in the early 1990s, included the downtown area, accounting for about 138 properties. Expanding the SID citywide would include more than 540 properties, generating more like $760,000 in special tax revenue compared with the currently $140,000.
A group of local business owners that go by the name Friends of Rahway Business, LLC, filed a lawsuit shortly after City Council expanded the SID, challenging the new ordinance. A judge initially ruled that year in favor of the business owners but the city filed an appeal. That appeal was heard a three-judge panel last month but no decision has been announced.