Wednesday, September 3, 2014

East Second Revitalization Supporters Seek Council Help

More than 40 people crowded Tuesday's City Council meeting in support of using Urban Enterprise Zone funds to revitalize an East Second Street neighborhood that is currently beset by crime and decay.
Rev. Paul Dean of Visions of God Family Worship Church told the council members the neighborhood was not poor and could be revitalized, was inclusive of young people and had the commitment of merchants, although he said they presently feel "beleaguered."

The group, which held a march and rally following recent shootings, wants the city to use $1.2 million in Urban Enterprise Zone funds to launch the revitalization.

Council President Bridget Rivers asked the administration to come up with a resolution by next week's voting meeting, but City Administrator Rick Smiley said he, Economic Director Carlos Sanchez and Corporation Counsel Vernita Sias-Hill will be meeting to discuss the situation. Finance Director Ron West said the council earlier this year rescinded UEZ fund resolutions, including one for East Second Street, and the administration is working to reconcile accounts to know how much is owed to the city.

While it was not discussed Tuesday, the UEZ funding process involved the council making a request to the Urban Enterprise Zone Authority for use of funds in Plainfield's account. The East Second Street request was made in late 2010. A look at UEZA minutes for 2011 shows no action on the request, and by the end of that year, funds had been turned back to the UEZ cities for local control.

In May 2012, then-Councilman Adrian Mapp sought an accounting of all UEZ projects and funding, but was unable to get details. Mapp is now mayor and his administration, as West noted, is sorting things out.

Dean asked residents supporting the project to stand as he made his case to the governing body Tuesday.
He said it was "time to revisit" a study of the district by Dr. Roland Anglin of Rutgers University.

"It looks like we're losing, but we're not willing to quit," Dean said. "It doesn't make sense the way East Second  looks. We have the money."

Councilman Cory Storch said he was encouraged to see the turnout, but advocated using the UEZ funds as "seed money" to attract outside investors. He said the revitalization requires a comprehensive, multifaceted plan.

One of the group's goals is to build a youth center, something Councilman William Reid endorsed.

Councilwoman Gloria Taylor promised to work with the group.

"I applaud you - I thank you," she said. Referring the Dean's account of past promises, she said, "I'm sure we are going to have a different tune this season."



  1. Cory storch doesn't think it's a good investment I guess not its not his children who have to walk past and through this dilapidated area. Our organization people against killing. Have been working on this issue for three years. By not revitalizing the community is to support the death of it. Therefore our new organization shall be called Respect For Life/Community Action. While some have no respect for life, I.E, peace progress and prosperity in our community we do and shall be successful in our effort to revitalize our community. Striving for peace progress and prosperity for all. Norman X Johnson

    1. I am willing and wanting to read your comments. But please have someone proof read them first? I know that I am not the only person who has trouble understanding your point. Thank you

    2. Norman, I don't see where you come up with your assumption that Cory Storch doesn't think it's a good investment. Streetscaping alone is not revitalization. Storch only said that it would take more investment, from within and without Plainfield, to get it done. So it seems to me that your allegation is entirely baseless. What it smells of is the typical political rhetoric intended to divide our city between those who supposedly give a damn and those who could care less. You should be supporting comprehensive planning, as Storch suggested, if you actually have an interest in progress, as opposed to just spouting off.

    3. Norman, Cory was trying to make the point that the area needs MORE money, and MORE redevelopment, and MORE support.

      Think for yourself, Norman. Hear what is being said by the people, not what Jerry Green is saying. You are a bright man. Jerry Green has only his self interest at heart. Don't be duped.

  2. Here's a link to the Anglin/Rutgers 2nd Street Revitalization Study-

  3. I was wondering where srb was last night. Perhaps she was afraid someone would ask her why there was NO accounting for the UEZ money so the E. 2nd St project could have been started. Her supporters never want to acknowledge that she had no one in place to do any serious long term planning. Will they ever wake up? Will they allow the Mapp admin. To properly plan and implement?

  4. Maybe Norman can get some of the Hungarians he mentioned in a previous post to help put lipstick on this pig. The area has too many empty buildings to warrant putting any money in to any type of streetscape at this time. If you plant trees no one will water them. If you install benches, they will be vandalized. Lets figure out a plan to get the buildings into new hands so something can be done with them. A grocery store would be nice, even if it were a small local store. Some housing. A youth center could be good too. Maybe put some of that money into the downtown while a plan is made for this area. And I'm shocked that Gloria even knew about it. Who gave her the memo??

  5. I would like to see a skateboard park in this area and others on Plainfield. A lot of kids want to do that, but have no where to go. I don't see any issue with city liability. Can it be more than we have with a basketball court where a kid could fall on the hard court and get hurt. Let's plan for the adults and young people in the area.

  6. How about this, why don’t we first concentrate on cleaning up Park Ave. If ever there was a need for revitalization, the strip of Park Ave between 2nd and 7th would be it. Considering Park Ave is a major pass-through for access to route 22, North Plainfield and South Plainfield one would think the city would at least try and keep this area up. Perception is everything and Jerry Green decides to set up his headquarters right in the middle of the chaos. I try not to even drive that way, it’s very depressing, dangerous and makes Plainfield as a whole, look bad.