Residents of The Centennial Village area of Cranford will tell you it is an increasingly fun place to be. And this goes beyond the fact that Centennial Avenue is a county road, and is therefore usually the first one plowed during the winter snows, and the fact that it is conveniently located near town and transportation. It’s always been a tight-knit community, fraught with families, and with kids seen walking to and from each other’s houses to pick up their friends to play basketball in the Lincoln School playground, or soccer on the Hillside Avenue School fields. While it has consistently been a great place to live, the area has been on a notable upswing.
Centennial Village is well known for its hugely popular annual Music Fest, held on Lincoln School grounds, on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Centennial Avenue, in the late summer months. It has also become known in recent years for the 5K run held every late Spring. The Easter bunny visits in Spring. Santa visits and rides through on the trolley every winter. The area is well-visited by patrons of such popular hot-spots as The Butcher Block Deli, Calabria’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, Cougar Headquarters, and A Toute Heure Restaurant . . . . definitely some of Cranford’s finest businesses, as well as many, many more. Parking is not nearly as hard to find here as it is in downtown Cranford. In recent years, much of it has received new pavers and old-fashioned lampposts, giving it a much more attractive, hometown look.
Centennial Village comprises the southern Cranford area on Centennial Avenue (hence the name) between Lincoln Avenue, (which is pretty much dead center between the passenger train tracks and the freight line), and the Garden State Parkway (near the Winfield Park border). It is both a residential and business area. It is home to Hillside Avenue School, which is a K-8 school servicing the southern portion of the town, and Lincoln School, which serves as a county alternative education site, as well as the Cranford Township Board of Education Offices. In the past few years, The Centennial Village area has been undergoing an enormous renaissance, thanks to the efforts of local business leaders and politicians, and, in great part, to The Centnnial Village Group committee. This committee is made up of Cranford volunteers dedicated to the revitalization and beautification of the Centennial Avenue business district. Their goal is to continue the existing effort of re-making this section of the community, through local volunteerism, local business and political vision, and ongoing community and fundraising activities. “(It is an ongoing process, and plans are still in the making for much of the area), which is primarily zoned to help it develop into a downtown-style hub for retail trade, commerce, and pedestrian traffic,” quoted board member William Montani. His words ring true when you take note of how many businesses have either opened their doors for the first time, or refurbished their place of business, to keep up with the blossoming of the area.
It’s well worth keeping an eye on. Centennial Village seems to be the up-and-coming area of south Cranford. Check out the Centennial Village website at http://www.gotocentennialvillage.com/ , and maybe we’ll see you at the 5K or at Music Fest this year!