PATERSON, NJ- With an appointment looming for his third meeting with Governor Murphy since his May election later in the day, Mayor-Elect Andre Sayegh addressed more than 50 members and guests of the Greater Paterson Chamber of Commerce at a luncheon sponsored by the North Jersey Federal Credit Union on Wednesday.
Revealing that he actually worked for the organization as a liaison to local businesses nearly 15 years ago, Chamber President Jamie Dykes praised the incoming mayor for his “fresh vision,” calling his focus on economic development as the key to reviving the once bustling city a “great opportunity.”
The pending meeting, Sayegh told the audience, was to urge Murphy to put his signature on legislation championed by Paterson’s legislative team to provide $130 million in tax credits that Sayegh believes will spur development through six different projects, and set the city on the path to a “renaissance” similar to those seen in Camden, Jersey City, and Newark in recent years.
With the Great Falls as the “centerpiece” of economic development, and a potential target for dining, retail, and residential opportunities, Sayegh also revealed that his incoming adminstration had their sites set on, among others, the construction of a 12,000 seat arena, and projects at the currently vacant Leader Dye and former armory sites that, together, would make Paterson a “destination for the right reasons.”
The tax credits, Sayegh said, were part of a multi-pronged approach to “writing Paterson’s success story.” Recently designated Opportunity Zones which will encourage investment within several local census tracks mainly in the city’s 1st and 4th Wards, additional funding from the state including an $10.8 million in property tax relief included in the proposed budget due to be signed in the coming days, additional police hires and the expanded utilization of foot patrols, and an increased reliance on partnerships and collaboration with both Passaic County and the Board of Education will all help to “breathe new life” into every corner of the city.
Just days away from being sworn in Sayegh closed by saying that now was the time to turn the message of an even better Paterson “into a mission” and that he’d be relying on the help of everyone in the room, and across the city, in efforts to help it reach its potential.