WEST ORANGE, NJ - On Thursday, May 30, from 7-9 pm, a Building One New Jersey/Together North Jersey Policy Briefing will be held at the Wilshire Grand Hotel, 350 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange, NJ.

Expected Participants Include:

Speaker Sheila Oliver, NJ General Assembly
Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, NJ General Assembly
Freeholder Brendan Gill, Essex County
Mayor Vic DeLuca, Maplewood
Mayor James Anzaldi, Clifton
Mayor Alex Torpey, South Orange
Mayor Robert Jackson, Montclair
Councilwoman Sue McCartney, West Orange
Councilwoman Renee Baskerville, Montclair
Councilwoman Charnette Federic, Irvington
Councilman Bob Russo, Montclair
Councilman Sean Spiller, Montclair
West Orange Board of Education Member Sandra Mordecai

Issues that will be addressed include:

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- infrastructure
- education
- housing
- immigration

According to the NJ Building Together web site: "The meeting will focus on the $5 million Sustainable Communities Initiative grant from HUD to create a "Regional Plan for Sustainable Development" to promote stable and inclusive communities and an environmentally sustainable region. The purpose of this plan is to influence the direction of an estimated $30-$40 billion of state and federal dollars that are needed and expected to be invested in housing, water and transportation infrastructure over the next decade.

The entity created to fulfill this grant is called TOGETHER North Jersey (TNJ) housed at the Voorhees Transportation Center of the Bloustein School at Rutgers University (see www.togethernorthjersey.com). Building One New Jersey (BONJ) is a major partner in this initiative and is helping organize a series of conversations across our region about TNJ and the future of north Jersey.

As you know, New Jersey's older communities and towns are vital, diverse and at the heart of the American Dream - towns like Bloomfield, South Orange, Montclair, West Orange, Maplewood, Clifton, and Belleville. Yet we face huge challenges from a slow economic recovery and the absence of federal and state policies that support communities like ours. Over the past year, through BONJ, a group of local elected officials and citizens from our area has been discussing ways to work together to make sure our collective voices are heard in Trenton and Washington in order to build a better future for our towns.

This event and the TNJ initiative is an opportunity for us to build support for policies to help towns like ours. The phrase "stable and inclusive communities and an environmentally sustainable region" means different things to different people. We believe it means investing infrastructure dollars in diverse, inclusive and transit friendly communities like ours while promoting regional cooperation and a better balance of housing to bring working families within reach of good jobs, schools and transportation."

The public is welcome to attend, but seating is limited.  To RSVP, please contact Councilwoman Susan McCartney at smccartney@westorange.org.