Scotch Plains and Fanwood may share a school district but the two communities have been separate municipalities since 1895, when tiny Fanwood broke away.
Now a group of citizens is hoping to reunite the neighboring towns.
The grassroots Courage to Re-Connect on Wednesday submitted an application to the state Local Finance Board to create a municipal consolidation commission that would study a merger.
The residents filed their application, which included more than 1,000 signatures, under the Local Option Municipal Consolidation Act of 2007.
Organizers said the application was the first time citizens from two communities, without the backing of the local governments, have asked for a study commission.
“It made a lot of sense to merge, particularly because we already have a merged school system,” said organizer Fred Lange, a Scotch Plains resident since 1974. “Also it made a lot of sense getting rid of the redundancy and be more efficient."
The commission must be approved by the Local Finance Board, which next meets in Marc
After a commission presents its findings and recommendations, including what to name a the merged town, voters in both towns would have to approve the merger.
Last year voters Princeton Borough and Princeton Township approved a merger after decades of debate.
“The citizens are saying let’s look into this we are basically one town anyway,” said Gina Genovese of Courage to Connect N.J., which assisted Lange. “This takes courage because it never happened before. They had no support from the local government.”