PATERSON, NJ - The efforts of local officials and area business owners to give the bustling 21st Avenue corridor a facelift got a boost on Friday with the announcement of a $500,000 state grant that will be used for new curbing, sidewalks, ADA compliant ramps, and other pedestrian friendly alterations. 

Joined by 6th Ward Councilman Al Abdelaziz and several local merchants, Mayor Andre Sayegh said the state funding was a reward for all who “believe in Paterson.”

“Your faith is being rewarded,” he said to those who have often acknowledged trying for decades to get the street rehabbed. Once completed, Sayegh predicted, even more people will come to the area, including those from out of town, to spend money. 

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Calling it “phase one” in a much larger plan to make 21st Avenue “the jewel of the 6th Ward,” Abdelaziz, who also led previous efforts to make part of the avenue a one-way and reconfigure parking for the addition of approximately 50 new spaces added that “we see what it is, and what it can be.”

The Councilman also said that he is working with PSE&G to have the roadway repaved curb to curb once their gas line maintenance work is complete. 

While longtime business owner and community advocate Elsa Mantilla said she was “so happy” for her customers and local residents, Wendy McGuire, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Paterson and Passaic was also on hand to celebrate.

“Our clubhouse is a safe haven for so many kids,” McGuire said of their 21st Avenue space that includes classrooms, computer labs, a large gym, and an indoor swimming pool. “I am hopeful for all of the families that our Club serves for what this corridor can be.

“You have struggled and suffered, but succeeded,” Sayegh said, again commending those standing alongside him for their investment in Paterson. “What we are doing here today is a sign of things to come for business corridors all across our city.”

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