PATERSON, NJ - The 4th Ward is about to get a facelift--at least part of it, that is.
The Paterson City Council adopted a resolution to award grant money to a local developer through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 3, sponsored by HUD. Supporters of the resolution say the community is in dire need of revitalization. Those opposed contend that it was adopted prematurely.
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) grants money to revitalize neighborhoods that have been severely impacted by home foreclosures and abandonment, according to HUD’s website. Eligible wards in Paterson were the 1st, 4th and 5th wards.
Wrigley Park Development LLC will receive $200,000 to renovate a home on Foyer Street. The total cost for developing the property is $255,000, meaning the city will foot the majority of the bill--a problem for council members Morris and Rodriguez.
After the property is developed, the units will be rented to low-income households, according to the resolution. All of the profit will go to Wrigley.
Councilwoman Ruby Cotton of the 4th Ward says the grant is desperately needed.
“We need this to uplift certain neighborhoods, and one of those neighborhoods is in my ward,” said Cotton.
Cotton says she would like multiple properties to be developed, but thinks one is enough to spark change in the neighborhood.
“I think if one starts [developing], then others will start,” said Cotton.
The resolution had been tabled multiple times in previous regular meetings workshops, according to Cotton.
“I just need some things done in my ward,” said Cotton, who says she’s tired of seeing abandoned properties.
Councilman Kenneth Morris motioned to table the resolution until more information could be provided such as the total cost of the project for the developer, even suggesting the money be used to develop several properties in the area instead of just one house.
“You cannot effectively change a neighborhood by just going in and doing one house while every other piece of property around it is falling down,” said Morris.
The resolution was adopted with a 5-3 vote. McKoy, Rodriguez, and Morris voted against it due to unanswered questions.
“I absolutely want neighborhood revitalization and stabilization,” said Morris. “I want it done so it has the biggest impact possible.”
The same company was previously given close to a quarter of a million dollars to renovate property of Governor Street last year.
Council President Andre Sayegh voted to adopt the resolution, saying that his questions about how the neighborhood would be stabilized were answered.
“There’s clearly a need now,” said Sayegh.
Sayegh says Morris, Rodriguez, and McKoy had valid reasons for opposing the resolution, but believes Cotton knows what’s best for her ward.
“I felt that the councilwoman knows her ward,” said Sayegh. “If I had had a similar situation in the 6th ward I would have hoped they would’ve listened to me.”