Just five years ago when Newark Riverfront Revival began its work, there weren’t too many reasons to visit the water’s edge of New Jersey’s greatest city. But things have changed! In 2014, over 3000 Newark residents & visitors came to relax, socialize, dance, perform, eat, explore, cheer & watch the river roll!
This year, Newark Riverfront Revival organized first-time events like the Praise by the Passaic Gospel Festival, the Riverfront House DJ Residency & Paddle on the Passaic Kayak Days. We continued traditions like our annual Walk to the Water & Orange Party, City & Port Boat Tours, movie nights & free Zumba & yoga. With Ironbound Community Corporation, we convened a proud third year of Friends of Riverfront Park monthly meetings. Throughout, we showcased Newark’s culture & spirit in our city’s newest public space & claimed the riverfront for Newarkers! As Larry Hamm of People’s Organization for Progress proclaimed as our featured River Day speaker, “The river belongs to the people!”
2014 also marked serious steps towards cleaning the river & expanding public access to it. In April, the EPA Regional Administration came to the Orange Sticks to announce the federal government’s proposal for cleaning eight miles of the Passaic River. Newark’s first public riverfront access outside of the Ironbound opened with a first stretch of Downtown Riverfront Trail between Penn Station & Cherry Street. PSEG’s remediation of the former Market Street Gasworks continued, setting the stage to open another segment of riverfront meadow near Raymond Boulevard & Prospect Street. Finally, the City of Newark, Essex County & Trust for Public Land advanced work on Segment 3 to begin construction in 2015, which will better connect the sports fields near Brill Street to the Orange Boardwalk & expand under the Jackson Street Bridge & beyond.
All of these good things from house parties to park construction to river remediation have only been possible because Newarkers & others have taken a stand & gotten involved in creating the riverfront that Newark wants. Going forward, we look forward to attracting every Newarker to the river’s edge & beyond! Please help us accomplish our goal by visiting our new website at newarkriverfront.org, signing up for our email list, following on Twitter, liking on Facebook & talking with your friends & neighbors about our river. See you all down by the water in oh-fifteen!