METUCHEN, N.J. (PIX11) – The borough in Middlesex County is one of eight national semifinalists for the Great American Main Street Award. The borough joins downtowns from Florida to Wyoming, with the winner being named in the spring.

“Once you come, you’ll see that this community deserves this award,” said Dawn Mackey, Executive Director of the Metuchen Downtown Alliance. “We will find out in March, but I think what people can do is make sure that they put Metuchen on their list of places to come visit, see what all the buzz is about.”

The last five years have transformed, with the Metuchen Downtown Alliance leading the way.

“The shops and the owners in Metuchen are extraordinary,” said Eric Berger, Chairman of the Alliance. 

The eclectic center of cuisine and business is home to several lively downtown events every year.

“Come here. I think you’ll end up wanting to live here,” said Berger. “It’s that great.”

One reason behind Metuchen’s success is its train station. It sits about halfway between New York and Trenton on New Jersey Transit’s northeast corridor, which drops you off right downtown.

“You could draw a circle around our train station. It’s one mile. You got almost the entirety of the borough within that,” said Borough Council President Jason Delia. “It’s very walkable community.”

Only the downtowns of Montclair and Westfield, N.J., have had this distinction before Metuchen. Borough leaders hope they’re on track to be a rising star in New Jersey.

“It’s just great to be in the conversation with towns like Westfield and Montclair,” said Metuchen Mayor Jonathan Busch. “The opportunity to be on a map nationally as a great downtown, to even be nominated with the other seven communities that we’re up there with shows that Metuchen’s on the map, that it’s a place people consider as a destination.”