PATERSON, NJ - Lifelong Paterson resident Tiffany Jacobs is tired of others trashing the city she is proud to call home. “Enough is enough,” she told TAPinto Paterson.
Earlier this year Jacobs, along with her friend Shanikwa Lemon, started an effort that led to the organizing of seven community cleanups- all volunteer driven, something, she said, that shows her neighbors all across the city want to be part of making Paterson clean. On Friday, Jacobs was on hand as Mayor Andre Sayegh, surrounded by members of several city departments, including the DPW, economic development, and the Paterson Police Department, launched the new City Sweep Team.
The effort, Sayegh said, was spurred by a continued desire to root out panhandling, loitering, and illegal dumping, and is another sign, he said, that “Paterson is picking up.” Indeed, the mayor offered, cleaning Paterson has been one of his Administration's core missions since taking over in 2018, but is also, he lamented, one that has taken somewhat of a backseat to efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Now, it’s back on the front pages.
“We will not allow the pandemic to preclude us from taking the steps we need for a cleaner and safer Paterson,” Sayegh pledged.
One by one key city figures stepped up to the microphone, each clad in their newly made Quality of Life Task Force jackets, each declaring why the effort mattered to their individual professional remits.
Acknowledging again the “broken windows” theory when it comes to public safety, Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale said that cleaner streets are safer streets. “When it appears no one cares it leads to bigger crimes,” Speziale said.
For Osner Charles, Deputy Director of the Department of Economic Development, clean streets and neighborhoods means attracting more investment, on top of the $100 million worth of projects that have already been approved by the Paterson Planning and Zoning Boards in 2020. “We are going to roll up our sleeves and get this work done together,” Charles said.
Council members Ruby Cotton and Luis Velez spoke about the need for residents to continue to get involved, while Orlando Cruz, Executive Director of Downtown Paterson reminded those gathered that “as Paterson’s downtown goes so goes the rest of Paterson.”
With the formalities over and Sayegh taking to a ladder to hang three new signs to bring the effort into even clearer focus, Jacobs again turned to TAPinto Paterson and shared her enthusiasm, most especially for the community involvement component.
For too long laws on the books regarding trash and other quality of life issues haven’t been enforced, she theorized, something, she believes, is finally changing. “We are bringing about a mindset shift,” Jacobs said. “What has become acceptable will no longer be acceptable.”
“We’re going up,” she predicted for her city. “Paterosn is picking up.”
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