PATERSON, NJ - State leaders were back in Paterson Thursday to once again offer support to the Sayegh Administration’s efforts to jumpstart redevelopment.
Joining Mayor Andre Sayegh at a press conference overlooking the Great Falls were New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe and New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) CEO Tim Sullivan who announced that Paterson would now be part of DEP’s Community Collaborative Initiative (CCI).
Paterson “bears the scars of an industrial past” Sullivan said, adding that contaminated sites have for too long inhibited growth and “prevented development that wants to take place.”
Through the program, McCabe said, Paterson will benefit from a member of the NJ DEP being embedded locally to help city officials address environmental concerns that exist at sites across the city, including the Allied Textile Printing site and Hincheliffe Stadium, both adjacent to the Great Falls, as well as the former Leader Dye site in the city’s Fifth Ward.
“We are excited to get to work in Paterson,” McCabe said. “CCI is a successful model for addressing multiple environmental and community challenges throughout the state and we look forward to applying it here."
Initially announced in March, officials pointed to the success of the CCI program in cities across New Jersey such as Bayonne, Camden, Perth Amboy, and Trenton. McCabe said that AJ Joshi, who has already been on the ground meeting with local groups will continue to spend two to three days a week locally “finding out the community’s ideas” and helping to find ways to “reinvigorate and revitalize brownfields sites.”
“Cleaning up sites is not enough,” McCabe said before concluding that the CCI program takes the DEP’s work “one step further” by asking “what’s next?”
Referring to the sites that he’ll be working to bring new life to as “all pieces of a puzzle,” Joshi said that through the CCI program state and local officials, as well as community leaders, a new focus will be placed on “putting them together.”
Also in attendance at the announcement was Steve Kehayes, community development director for Paterson Habitat for Humanity. Calling the addition of Joshi to local efforts “very important” Keyhayes said that the assistance already provided locally through the CCI program, most notably direct access to the DEP, has been, and will continue to be a “big asset.”
For Sayegh Paterson’s inclusion in the CCI program is further proof that Paterson’s efforts to launch a renaissance are no longer being overlooked by Trenton. Offering a reminder that Sullivan joined him at city hall just last week to announce a $100,000 grant to help energize redevelopment in federally designated Opportunity Zones across the city, and that McCabe will be back next week, Sayegh said that state officials are helping to “seriously position Paterson for progress.”
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