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 Finance Director Ron West said the council earlier this year rescinded UEZ fund resolutions, including one for East Second Street, and the administration is working to reconcile accounts to know how much is owed to the city.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.
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."