PATERSON, NJ - Efforts to rehabilitate the historic Hinchliffe Stadium, build 75 affordable housing units for senior citizens, bring a childcare center to the neighborhood, and construct a 315-space parking garage may take a giant step forward Tuesday.
In a Special Meeting scheduled to begin at 5:00, the city’s legislative body is expected to decide whether to approve a 30-year payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement that will allow for the developer to receive the financing necessary to move forward with the project that the body previously approved in October 2019.
Championing the project for the past week has been Council Vice President Lillisa Mimms. As the new chair of the Council’s Economic Development Committee, Mimms helped bring about changes to the agreement, including reducing the PILOT from 35 year to 30 years, so that it can be considered and acted on with the public’s input.
"There is common ground here in that everyone wants to see the stadium revitalized," Mimms said, "Now we are at the place to fund what the City Council has already approved."
Mimms added that she has done all the research and shared a hope that her colleagues have done the same. "We have an opportunity before us," she said, adding, in reference to some who have suggested votes are too often cast based on politics, "when I make a decision it is based on what's best for the City of Paterson, not a personal agenda."
Meanwhile, there are those that believe the financial arrangement is one that gives too much to the developer and not enough to the city. “I don’t see the benefits to the residents of Paterson,” Councilwoman-at-Large Martiza Davila told TAPinto Paterson. “Where is the job creation? What skin does the developer have in this?”
Asked about her desire to see Hinchliffe Stadium revived, Davilla didn’t hesitate to offer her support for that, but added “at what cost?” Referencing other highly touted projects that have been part of the discussion when it comes to the state issued tax credits Davila shared that she has lost confidence that any of the projects will come to fruition, at least in the short term. “We haven’t seen any shovels in the ground.”
Davila also bristled at the notion that her opposition to the agreement is based on a dislike for Sayegh and his inner circle. “This is not me against the Administration,” Davila said. “This is about me being born and raised in Paterson and not seeing the benefits of this project to the residents at this point.”
“This is a good deal for the developer,” Davila concluded. “They are getting more than the city.”
Pushing back on the assertion that it brings no benefit to Paterson, Mike Powell, the city’s director of economic development, said that the three-pronged project has been near the top of the list of priorities for Mayor Andre Sayegh’s Administration throughout most of their time in office, and is one that will have ripple effects throughout both First and Second Wards.
“This land has sat derelict for nearly 30 years and now we have a chance to bring new life to it, making it something that not only generates nearly $4 million in revenue but also sends a signal to other investors that Paterson is a city on the rise,” Powell said. “From Vistas Park all the way down Ryle Avenue, what this project will catapult, from an economic development perspective, will be unlike anything Paterson has seen before.”
The meeting, set to begin at 5:00 p.m., will be televised and streamed on YouTube. Click here for the agenda and call in information for the public portion.
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