Mayor Ras J. Baraka and West Ward Council Member Joseph A. McCallum will be holding a virtual community meeting on Thursday, July 30, at 7 p.m. on the City of Newark’s Facebook site at facebook.com/cityofnewark to introduce Newark residents to six small developers working in the West Ward Neighborhood Development Plan area. Viewers will learn how they became developers and about the plans for their individual projects. Following the discussion, the developers and city will answer questions from the audience. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the projects of the Newark small developers continue to move forward. Three of the six developers are women.
“Minority and women small developers are eager to redevelop neighborhoods that the downtown developers ignore,” said Mayor Baraka. “We provide them with opportunity to do so by selling land at low cost, providing grants to first-time home buyers, providing subsidies and streamlining regulations. Starting out, some of the smaller developers lack the capacity and do not know how to get projects financed, started and completed. Here in Newark, we teach them how.”
The West Side Neighborhood Development Plan area includes 21 blocks between South Orange Avenue and West Side Park in the West Ward. The boundaries are South Orange Avenue on the north; Ashland Avenue and South 13th Street on the east; 16th Avenue on the south and South 20th Street on the west.
“Small local developers are critical to our goal of assuring that Newark’s growth is equitable and that residents benefit from the surge of investment here,” the Mayor added. “They build wealth in the community, provide jobs for residents, and have a personal stake in shaping a prosperous future for our city. And we are confident that before long, some of these small developers will become big developers.”
The targeted neighborhood has high rates of foreclosures and many “underwater” properties worth less than what’s owed on them. It has abandoned and deteriorated properties, vacant lots and few affordable housing choices. However, at the same time, the area has West Side Park and West Side High School. It has many homes and blocks that are very well cared for interspersed with the deterioration. It has owners who take pride in their community and confidence in its future.
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