For Immediate Release
NEWARK RIVERFRONT REDEVELOPMENT AND PUBLIC ACCESS PLAN AND NEWARK RIVERFRONT PARK EARN NEW JERSEY FUTURE 2014 SMART GROWTH AWARD
Award honors the community’s work in transforming its waterfront into an urban asset
Newark, NJ –Mayor Luis A. Quintana, the Newark Municipal Council, Planning Director Damon Rich, Newark Riverfront Revival, Essex County, Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC), and The Trust for Public Land announced today that New Jersey Future has selected Newark’s River: Redevelopment & Public Access Plan and Newark Riverfront Park as one of its 2014 Smart Growth Award winners.
The City of Newark was one of eight communities to receive the coveted award. The construction of Newark & Essex County Riverfront Park and the adoption of the Newark’s River: Redevelopment & Public Access Plan were both recognized for demonstrating and advancing smart growth principles. These achievements, the culmination of 20 years of advocacy and planning, grew from sustained partnerships between public and private stakeholders. These partners came together to connect Newark with its river, to grow the city and its neighborhoods to the water’s edge, and to bring the life of the city to the amazing natural attraction at the heart of the region’s most populated place.
“We are honored that our longstanding efforts to re-connect our residents with our historic Passaic River and to improve the environment and quality of life there are being recognized by New Jersey Future,” said Mayor Quintana. “I commend everyone involved with this important project on gaining well-deserved statewide recognition.”
On August 3, 2013, Newark’s second segment of riverfront park opened to the public, featuring a bright orange boardwalk fabricated of recycled plastic lumber. Bringing Newark’s riverfront park area to a total of 15 acres, this opening occurred 20 years after the lower 17 miles of the adjacent Passaic River were declared a Superfund site. As accompaniment to the development and adoption of the Newark’s River: Redevelopment & Public Access Plan a few days later,these parks gave material evidence of Newark’s riverfront revival and also demonstrated strong application of smart growth principles.
The announcement of the award comes just in time for the launch of the 2014 Newark Riverfront program calendar next month. Organized programs include free and low-cost activities like concerts, boat tours, kayaking, environmental workshops, movie nights, public art, youth day camp, and public exercise that are set to draw Newarkers and visitors to the City’s riverfront. Learn more at www.newarksriver.wordpress.com.
“Newarkers have long known that growing our neighborhoods and downtown to the river is smart growth and sustainable development in action, and it is heartening and rewarding that others in our region and beyond recognize the same,” said Damon Rich, the City’s Planning Director and Chief Urban Designer and the principal author of Newark’s River: Redevelopment & Public Access Plan. “The Newark Planning Office and Newark Riverfront Revival aim to connect every Newarker to their river, so please join us this summer for a boat tour, a gospel festival, or a Zumba class, and join the movement back to the water.”
New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that brings together concerned citizens and leaders to promote responsible land-use policies. The organization employs original research, analysis and advocacy to build coalitions and drive land-use policies that help revitalize cities and towns, protect natural lands and farms, provide more transportation choices beyond cars, expand access to safe and affordable neighborhoods and fuel a prosperous economy.
Newark Riverfront Revival (NRR) aims to revive Newark’s riverfront to bring concrete benefits to the City of Newark and its residents. Since 2008, NRR has built support for Newark’s riverfront by taking hundreds of people on boat and walking tours, hosting dozens of outreach events, organizing design education programs for youth, and staging a City Hall exhibition. Since 2012, NRR has worked with Essex County, the City of Newark, The Trust for Public Land, Ironbound Community Corporation, and other partners to build and program over 15 acres of riverfront parks, including a walking and biking trail, sports fields and courts, floating boat dock, riverfront boardwalk, playground and other settings for relaxation, picnics, exercise, and environmental education.