PATERSON, NJ - Mayor Andre Sayegh is closing out 2019 by touting the receipt of more than $5.7 million in grant awards over the past 12 months.
“To be able to continue with Paterson’s progression, grant funding is imperative,” Sayegh said in a statement. “2019 was an important year for the city, the grants that we have been able to obtain are making an impact.”
Among the grants he highlighted were an $825,000 award from The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation to create an “innovation team” in collaboration with Passaic County Community College. Sayegh would go on to announce the appointments of Edward Boze as the city’s first chief innovation officer and Harsha Mallajoysula to serve as the inaugural chief data officer.
“Data in itself is not a cure all; it has biases and imperfections,” Mallajoysula cautioned at an event announcing his appointment. “However when it is married with qualitative insights, real experiences from Patersonians, it can truly transform local government.”
In June Sayegh was joined by Third Ward Councilman Bill McKoy in announcing that that Paterson had been awarded $125,000 from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Neighborhood Preservation Program.
This grant, the city leaders said at the time, will fund a community-based planning project to “stabilize” the busy Vreeland Avenue corridor.
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.
In efforts to beat back the opioid crisis gripping Paterson, and communities across the country, Sayegh, as well as a number of state officials and medical professionals from St. Joseph’s University Medical Center announced a pair of grants, including one for $600,000 force further collaboration among stakeholders in the joint effort.
The funding, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes said, would prove critical “since the impact of factors such as childhood trauma, poverty, education, and economic opportunities must all be considered in bringing rise to a successful campaign, not just law enforcement.”
Just a week earlier Sayegh stood shoulder to shoulder with New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to announce $150,000 in funding to create an Opioid Response Team (ORT). The effort, Grewal said, will help bring a stop to the "endless cycle of drug arrests, overdose deaths, and narcan saves.”
With redevelopment continuing to be a cornerstone of Sayegh’s Administration, the end-of-year review also offered a reminder of the $100,000 opportunity zone grant that New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan was awarded because of, and would help bolster, Paterson’s “proactive thinking.” when it comes to “long-term, sustainable economic growth.”
Paterson also received two awards totaling $3 million for street repaving, one in April and the second in November, as well as $95,000 to launch a “strike team” within the Paterson Department of Health and Human Services that will strengthen the city’s capacity to investigate communicable diseases by funding new technological software and allowing for more staff to be trained and available to respond to outbreaks in the region.
“Some grants, while small,” Sayegh said, “are providing our departments resources so they can adequately prepare to apply for large-scale funding programs. Moreover, these grants are putting Paterson on the map in a big way, with many of our awards being made to only a handful of awardees nationwide.”