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West Side Neighborhood In Newark

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West Side Neighborhood In Newark

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Planner volunteers worked with the Tri-City People's Corporation to develop a strategic plan for this struggling neighborhood in Newark's Central Ward. The community has a long list of challenges, including high crime, significant poverty, troubled schools, inadequate housing, mortgage and tax foreclosures, and little or no strong community organization to steer the strategic plan. Positive aspects of the neighborhood are several organizations with long term commitments to the neighborhood, such as Tri-City Peoples Corporation, many houses of worship willing to support the effort, a beautiful county park at its center, West Side Park, and a growing commercial district along Springfield Avenue, where Home Depot, a movie theater, a newly opened Shop Rite and a several restaurants have opened.
 
While the team of volunteers investigated the neighborhood and collected data and other information to support their work, they worked closely with the staff at Tri City to create a steering committee, inviting community representatives from various organizations in and around the neighborhood, including several houses of worship, elected officials, and Rutgers School of Criminal Justice in Newark. Organizing the steering committee was a significant effort. The team presented their findings with a list of strategies for continuing to organize the area, and begin to address the more pressing challenges. The first challenge will be to maintain the steering committee, which lacks strong leadership. The long term hope is that the steering committee can maintain the effort, strengthen the community organization, and apply for a planning grant from a foundation to develop a redevelopment plan.
 
The volunteers were:
 
Michael Benson
Lee Edgecomb, AIA, ASLA, AICP
Genevieve Lee
Khendra Lelie
Upendra Sapkota. AICP LEED AP
Eric Sturm
Tom Schulze, AICP

Planner volunteers worked with the Tri-City People's Corporation to develop a strategic plan for this struggling neighborhood in Newark's Central Ward. The community has a long list of challenges, including high crime, significant poverty, troubled schools, inadequate housing, mortgage and tax foreclosures, and little or no strong community organization to steer the strategic plan. Positive aspects of the neighborhood are several organizations with long term commitments to the neighborhood, such as Tri-City Peoples Corporation, many houses of worship willing to support the effort, a beautiful county park at its center, West Side Park, and a growing commercial district along Springfield Avenue, where Home Depot, a movie theater, a newly opened Shop Rite and a several restaurants have opened.
 
While the team of volunteers investigated the neighborhood and collected data and other information to support their work, they worked closely with the staff at Tri City to create a steering committee, inviting community representatives from various organizations in and around the neighborhood, including several houses of worship, elected officials, and Rutgers School of Criminal Justice in Newark. Organizing the steering committee was a significant effort. The team presented their findings with a list of strategies for continuing to organize the area, and begin to address the more pressing challenges. The first challenge will be to maintain the steering committee, which lacks strong leadership. The long term hope is that the steering committee can maintain the effort, strengthen the community organization, and apply for a planning grant from a foundation to develop a redevelopment plan.
 
The volunteers were:
 
Michael Benson
Lee Edgecomb, AIA, ASLA, AICP
Genevieve Lee
Khendra Lelie
Upendra Sapkota. AICP LEED AP
Eric Sturm
Tom Schulze, AICP

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West Side Neighborhood In Newark

  1. 1. West Side Park Neighborhood Planning Initiative Newark, NJ March, 2015 Tri-City Peoples Corporation Community Planning Action Program American Planning Association, New Jersey Chapter
  2. 2. Team Michael Benson Lee Edgecombe, AIA, ASLA, AICP Genevieve Lee Kendra Lelie Upendra Sapkota, AICP, LEED AP Eric Sturm Tom Schulze, AICP Renita Aughburns Toni L. Caldwell Dave Henry
  3. 3. Planning Process 1. APA-NJ was invited by Tri City People's Corporation to prepare a strategic plan. 2. Numerous neighborhood tours 3. Reviewed existing reports and plans 4. Interviewed stakeholders 5. Two Community meetings 6. Researched Best Practices in Other Areas
  4. 4. Reviewed Efforts from Other Cities • Healthy Neighborhoods- Baltimore • Sustainable South Bronx- New York • Skillman's Youth Development Alliance/After School Program –Detroit • Prison Entrepreneurship Program, Houston • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)
  5. 5. Previous Plans for West Side Park Area . • Redevelopment Design Plan for the Park – Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers • Kent-Brenner Springfield Redevelopment Plan – Newark City Planning Department • West Side Park Community Action Plan – 1998 • Newark Master Plan – West Side Park Element
  6. 6. Project Steering Committee • Sheila Montague – District Leader • Pastor Veronice Horne – In the Hands of a Women Ministries • Michael Thomas – West Side Park Community Center • Chanda Dawadi – Brick City Development Corporation • Mr. Allen – Principle 17th Street School • Lori Scott Pickens – Rutgers School of Criminal Justice • Captain Nash - Essex County Sheriff's Department • Perris Straughter – Newark Planning Department • Carolyn Wallace - International Youth Organization
  7. 7. Organization for this Presentation . • Neighborhood Boundaries • Neighborhood Background • What have We Learned? • Neighborhood Strengths • Neighborhood Issues • Recommendations • Next Steps
  8. 8. Neighborhood Boundaries .
  9. 9. Neighborhood Background
  10. 10. Demography - 2012 Population 11,217 Households 3,484 Families 2,598 Average Household Size 3.07 Owner Occupied Housing Units 781 Renter Occupied Housing Units 2,703 Median Age 29.0 Median Household Income $25,804 Average Household Income $39,636 Source : ESRI/Census.gov The chart shows basic demographic summary from 2012 census data. • Renter occupied units is greater than Owner occupied units . • Median household income is way below the average national household Income, i.e. about $57,000 and state’s median household income , i.e. about 68,000.
  11. 11. Household Income 2012 0.0% 5.0% 10.0% 15.0% 20.0% 25.0% 30.0% <$15,000 $15,000-$24,999 $25,000-$34,999 $35,000-$49,999 $50,000-$74,999 $75,000-$99,999 $100,000-$149,999 $150,000-$199,999 $200,000+ Household Income 2012 Source : ESRI/Census.gov Almost 30% of households earn less than $15, 000 per year.
  12. 12. 9,804 1,494 760 511 205 65 22 8 African American Total Hispanic Population Some Other Race White Population Reporting Two or More Races American Indian Asian Pacific Islander Ethnicity Source : ESRI/Census.gov
  13. 13. Housing Occupancy 3,538, 81% 821, 19% Occupancy Rate Occupied Housing Units Vacant Housing Units 0.0% 2.0% 4.0% 6.0% 8.0% 10.0% 12.0% For Rent Other Vacant For Sale Only Vacancy Type Total Housing Unites : 4,359 Source : ESRI/Census.gov More than 80% units are occupied - Strength!
  14. 14. Foreclosure-Bank Owned Properties Source : City of Newark/HUD Based upon Census tract Over 20 housing units are bank owned (foreclosed) properties. ?
  15. 15. Foreclosure Properties Source : City of Newark/HUD • Data suggest that Newark is severally devastated by the destabilizing effects of foreclosures – highest number of mortgages 90days overdue. • Tri City staff and volunteers observed significant numbers of boarded up homes and businesses. • Highest concentrations on South 16th Street and South 18th Street – often numerous boarded, secured or abandoned buildings right next to each other. • NJ Spotlight - 50% of Newark mortgages are under water • Realty Trac – September 2014 showed a 15% increase in foreclosures in the West Side Park area, with about 15% of homes in some stage of foreclosure.
  16. 16. Neighborhood Strengths West Side County Park
  17. 17. Neighborhood Strengths West Side Park Recreation Center
  18. 18. Neighborhood Strengths Neighborhood Organizations • New Community Social Services/ Family Resources • Family Services Bureau of Newark • Urban Renewal Corporation • NJCRI (New Jersey Community Research Initiative) • St. Ann’s Shelter • United Community Corporation • (FP) Future Potential YOUTH OUT CRY Foundation
  19. 19. Neighborhood Strengths Neighborhood Businesses • NCC Pathmark • Cineplex Theaters • Applebee's • Papa John's Pizza • Burger King • Walgreens • Home Depot • Wendy's • Others?
  20. 20. • Neighborhood Strengths Houses of Worship • Beth El Pentecostal House • Beulah Baptist Church • First Newborn Tabernacle Church • Grace Reform Church • Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses • Macedonia Baptist Church • Mount Calvary Church of God • Mount Olivet Baptist Church • New Born Baptist Church
  21. 21. • Neighborhood Strengths Resident Commitment – National Night Out
  22. 22. • Neighborhood Strengths New Housing has Been Built
  23. 23. • Neighborhood Strengths Close to Downtown Newark – with frequent bus service
  24. 24. Neighborhood Issues: • Lack of community leadership & identity. • Quality of life – crime, security, schools & recreational facilities and programs. • Poverty levels are high. • Economic development is badly needed. • Housing foreclosures are high. • Many vacant buildings. • Access to health care & healthy foods needs to be improved.
  25. 25. Neighborhood Issues: • Community Leadership & Identity • The Neighborhood Empowerment Center, which created the West Side Park Action Plan in the 1990s, did not continue as a leader to implement the plan. • Smaller individual community groups are not organized into a substantial and continuously dedicated committee to identify challenges and lead efforts to change. • Objectives of City of Newark do not always align with the community in West Side Park – the City’s Master Plan does not address the neighborhood’s most pressing problems. • No community “center” or identity - West Side Park has potential but this is prevented due to security concerns.
  26. 26. Neighborhood Issues: • Crime & Security • Crime, security, and gun violence are major concerns in the neighborhood – in the park and on the streets. • There are not enough county and city police in the neighborhood • The Police substation on 16th Avenue should be used for community policing activities. • Police and citizen partnership does not exist to support coordinated efforts to address community security concerns. • Building and landscape issues in the neighborhood contribute to crime—e.g. vacant, abandoned, and boarded up buildings, lighting design in West Side Park
  27. 27. Neighborhood Issues: Poverty, Jobs & Economic Development • Poverty levels are high. • Unemployment is high. • There is a lack of local employment. • Lack of coordinated effort with schools and universities to develop effective job training. • Population is slowly decreasing - people are moving out. • Need for economic development that will provide services and jobs.
  28. 28. Neighborhood Issues - Housing • Vacant Buildings • Need More Affordable Housing • Mortgage and Tax Foreclosures Increasing • Physically distressed buildings scar the area
  29. 29. Neighborhood Issues: • Quality of Life • All of these issues together lead to a feeling that the neighborhood is out of control. • Crime & Security are very important concerns. • Schools are inadequate. • Recreation is inadequate for children of all ages.
  30. 30. Neighborhood Issues: • Healthy Living • Insufficient healthcare facilities in the neighborhood. • Seniors particularly vulnerable since they don’t travel as easily. • Limited healthy food options in the immediate neighborhood.
  31. 31. Strategies to Address the Issues • Continue to Organize the Neighborhood • Economic Development to Create Jobs • Public Safety and Security • Housing • Education • Recreation • Health & Social Issues
  32. 32. Strategies – Neighborhood Organizing • Strengthen and expand the Steering Committee. Make it more inclusive so it can take a leadership role in finishing the plan and implementing solutions. Potential members include: • Newark Housing Authority • City Council representatives • Newark Police Department • More Houses of Worship • Block Associations • Charter Schools • Business Community • Star Ledger • Essex County Parks Department • Public Trust • Newark Housing & Community Development • Greater Newark Conservancy • Others?
  33. 33. Strategies for Public Safety ● Partner with the Newark Police Department to: ● Staff a community policing center in the building that was built on 16th Avenue ● Create and maintain neighborhood surveillance with community volunteers ● Work with Rutgers School of Criminal Justice to: ● To identify programs that can strengthen police/community relations ● To identify programs that have worked in other cities. ● To identify at-risk residents and work with them
  34. 34. Strategies - Economic Development ● Capitalize on the growth of retail on Springfield Avenue to: ● Organize business owners into a West Side Park business association. ● Develop strategies to attract more business to the area. ● Find out what businesses are needed in the area. ● Find out what is keeping small businesses from locating and growing in the area. ● Survey the community: o What professional skills do they possess? o What types of jobs do they need or want to pursue? o What programs could encourage job training and placement? ● Work with local agencies such as BCDC to get Small Business Assistance and job training and increase the number of small businesses in the area.
  35. 35. Strategies - Housing ● Target blocks near major corridors or facilities (West Side Park, 16th Ave., Springfield Ave.) for strategic redevelopment. ● Form a set of initiatives to encourage home improvement, repairs and other maintenance o Homeowners’ associations o Homeownership training programs ● Foreclosures - expand the Foreclosure Task Force programs to assist homeowners to prevent foreclosure with refinancing or other measures. ● Vacant lots - explore the creation of a third party to take over vacant property and supervise their redevelopment; e.g. NYC Third Party Transfer Program.
  36. 36. Strategies - Education ● Engage more with local school representatives and Board of Education in order to achieve better programming, obtain more resources, and partner with outside institutions such as universities and the Greater Newark Conservancy. ● Partner with schools and universities to develop programs that target at-risk individuals for after-school and evening training. ● Collaborate with local social service agencies to work with children’s families that require help, intervention or case management. ● Recreation - partner with other organizations such as the Department of Recreation for physical or cultural activities to keep kids interested and busy.
  37. 37. Strategies - Health & Social Services ● Reach out to Rutgers Medical School and other nearby institutions to investigate ways to make medical facilities more accessible to the West Side Park neighborhood ● Create a source of information for residents to find out about health benefits available to them and help connect them to preventive care.
  38. 38. Strategies - Recreation ○ West Side Park is an important community assets that is owned and maintained by Essex County. Despite recent improvements, other county parks receive more attention. The community, along with the City of Newark, should work together to change this. ○ Develop a stronger collaboration with the County Park’s Department to consider the following initiatives: ○ A private non-profit group to oversee the County's maintenance and to raise money for needed improvements to park facilities and programs – this was just done for Military Park in Downtown Newark. ○ Seek capital financing to rehabilitate and improve the Community Center. ○ Create a network of community volunteers to create recreation programs . ○ Consider extending the hours of after school programs ○ Identify capital needs of the park - plantings, lighting, fields, etc. ○ Create a series community events to establish the West Side Park as neighborhood center and stronghold. ○ Improve security in West Side Park.
  39. 39. What’s Next • Organize the Steering Committee to serve as an umbrella group to lead the neighborhood planning and implementation efforts. • Form Working Groups for each category of strategies to define them in more detail and advance them toward implementation. These groups should include people from the neighborhood and city and county staff. • Continue refining the Strategic Plan until it is approved by the larger, more inclusive Steering Committee. Then use the plan to attract funding for a more complete neighborhood plan and eventually implement strategies.

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