PATERSON, NJ - A Paterson Department of Public Works crew finished trimming the grass at the pocket park located at the corner of Vreeland Avenue and 20th Street on Thursday just in time for Mayor Andre Sayegh to announce plans to revitalize the heavily trafficked corridor in the city’s Eastside neighborhood.
“We are here today to announce the Neighborhood Preservation Plan (NPP) project,” Sayegh stated, with 3rd Ward Councilman Bill McKoy, the dean of the city’s legislative body, at his side. Offering a reminder that they were standing in the heart of the city’s oldest neighborhood Sayegh added that it is an active and vibrant area, and that they “want it to stay that way.”
“We want to see it stabilized,” Sayegh continued. “We have plans to improve walkability access. We will see that properties are maintained. There will be increased code enforcement.”
Through the NPP the city will also dedicate resources to hazard identification and physical improvements such as repairing sidewalks, according to officials.
Sayegh said that the city is seeking a $125,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for the improvements. If obtained, the work would be spread out over four to five years, the mayor said.
“We are a cash-strapped city,” Sayegh continued. “Every dollar matters. We are working with the DCA to forge neighborhood improvements. We want to see the string of businesses and homeowners in this corridor grow and prosper.”
McKoy, who represents the 3rd Ward in which the Eastside neighborhood is located, welcomed the plan and strategy.
“Efforts like this reduce crime,” McKoy said. “We want to leverage the Sheriff’s Department and the Attorney General’s Office. We want special operations to sever guns and drugs. Tomorrow, 16 new police officers are being sworn into office in Paterson.”
Curtis Farrow, President of the Eastside Neighborhood Association, was also upbeat about the news.
“As a neighborhood goes, so goes a city,” Farrow stated. “This is not just about the Eastside, it’s about all sides. We want to edify and beautify Paterson. Here on the Eastside, we are welcoming and open.”
City officials said that the initial phase of the project would last for 18 months, the first six dedicated to planning and community input. Longer term community improvements will continue for up to five years, dependant on grant funding.
With speeches over and press conference concluded the park came to life again as a group of over 30 elementary students, accompanied by teachers, converged on the slides, swings, and special apparatuses of the playground equipment.
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