Borough of Raritan

22 First Street

About Us:

The following was originally provided by Daniel Jaxel, Borough Administrator (revised 10/31/2006); it is subject to revision.

1979 - Construction of a new Raritan Municipal Building on 22 First Street begins. It is christened in 1980.

1981 - The Annual John Basilone Memorial Parade is started. In 1988 the Annual John Basilone Concert is born. Both thrive into the 21st Century. New Jersey Governor James McGreevey marches in the 2002 Parade. New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine marches in the 2006 Parade.

1985-1987 - The Raritan Shopping Mall and Orlando Drive are built over Raritan’s former sanitary landfill.

1994 - The Cardinal Woods Housing Development gets underway in the northwest section of the Borough. The 119 unit development includes 24 low and moderate income units to comply with state mandated affordable housing requirements. Cardinal Woods Park will be created nearby in a few years.

1994 - The New Jersey Department of Transportation constructs a vehicular overpass over the Somerville Traffic Circle to expedite the flow of traffic at Routes 202 and 206. The overpass is named the "John Basilone Memorial Bridge". New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman attends the overpass dedication.

1995 - The celebration of the 125th anniversary of Relief Hose Company No. 2 includes a large parade on Somerset Street followed by community refreshments in a parking area just north of Johnson Drive.

1996 - The New Jersey Office of State Planning designates the Borough of Raritan, the Borough of Somerville and a section of the Township of Bridgewater as a Regional Center. This important designation, aimed at strategic regional planning, allows the Borough of Raritan to apply for planning and redevelopment grants and for the 2003 Raritan Borough Master Plan to be paid for and coordinated through Somerset County.

1998 - The Borough celebrates the 50th Anniversary of its incorporation as a municipal entity by the State of New Jersey on May 12,1948. A committee is formed and monthly celebration events occur including a community picnic at Frelinghuysen Park on Sunday, July 12th; the weather is perfect. Another event is a dinner dance at St. Ann’s Church on November 13th. Coincidentally, a regular Borough Council meeting falls on May 12, 1998, so a celebration cake is included.

1999 - The Raritan Borough Streetscape Project Committee begins a series of meetings to plan substantial improvements to Somerset Street and its interconnecting streets, including new lighting, brick sidewalks and trees. The one million dollar project is done in phases from 1999 to 2005 and is accomplished almost entirely with State and County funding. Also, a fifty percent (50%) matching Façade and Canopy Improvement Program for businesses within the central section of Somerset Street is funded by Somerset County in 2000, 2001 and 2002. A Raritan Borough Economic Development Committee coordinates acceptable colors, patterns and materials.

1999 - Hurricane Floyd severely damages parts of the Boroughs of Bound Brook and Manville on September 16th. The extreme southern area of Raritan is under water. A $125,000 emergency appropriation is adopted by the Borough Council, mostly for damaged Public Works Department vehicles and equipment.

1999-2000 - On the evening of December 31, 1999, key Borough Emergency Management personnel are stationed at the Municipal Building and North Thompson Street Fire House for predicted worldwide "Y2K" computer malfunctions. But all electronic municipal machines easily transition into the year 2000.

2001 - In order to satisfy New Jersey Green Acres requirements that park property be substituted for green acres property consumed by the widening of Route 206, Raritan acquires from Somerset County a part of Block 24, Lot 1, better known as Washington School Park.

2001 - Horror grips the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11th as airplane hijackers destroy both New York City World Trade Center towers and damage the Pentagon. The Borough erects twenty American flags throughout Somerset Street and the American flag on the pole at the Municipal Building is lowered to half staff. On the Municipal Building’s doors the following notice is placed: "9/11/01, Due to today’s assault on America and the Governor’s Declaration of a State of Emergency, the Raritan Borough Council meeting has been canceled."

2001-2004 - The New Jersey Department of Transportation widens Route 206. It has been a goal of the State for decades and permanently impacts traffic flows for Raritan residents.

2003-2005 - The 16 Anderson Street Firehouse (former Municipal Building) exterior is renovated with $450,000 in Somerset County Historic Trust Fund dollars. The project makes the exterior look as it did in 1893, when the firehouse was originally built. Interior renovation of the 16 Anderson Street Firehouse is funded with a $577,000 State Historic Grant. The Raritan Public Library's interior and exterior are renovated with $335,000 under the Somerset County Historic Trust Program.*

2004 - The Lyman Street Bridge is constructed by Somerset County to replace the Nevius Street Bridge. The new bridge directly links traffic with First Avenue.

2004-2007 - The "Woolen Mills" building between Elizabeth Street and Orlando Drive is demolished and replaced with the River Park at Raritan project consisting of 211 luxury apartments and 12 income-qualifying apartments.

2007 - Nicholas M. Esposito died on March 3rd. He was a lifelong resident of Raritan and served as Borough Clerk and Borough Administrator for 42 years (including the period of incorporation in 1948). Mr. Esposito served Raritan in many other ways, such as a lifetime volunteer Fireman.