The CPAP team was invited to develop a strategic plan for this neighborhood surrounding the West Side County Park in Newark’s Central Ward. The neighborhood has many of the challenges facing older city neighborhoods throughout New Jersey, including poverty, high crime, challenged schools, abandoned buildings and lot, a lack of jobs, and inadequate recreational activities for children. All of these challenges have become more severe since the recession that started in 2008, now exacerbated by the high number of foreclosed residential properties.
CPAP volunteers were invited to Perth Amboy to work with the public, municipal officials, and business owners to develop strategies for improving the City’s commercial street, Smith Street. The effort was concentrated on the portion of Smith Streets west of the NJ TRANSIT train station. The planning work was carefully coordinated with several other planning efforts that were underway in the area, including a Together North Jersey funded TOD study at the train station and larger area-wide plan funded by the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation. The planning work involved two meetings with the public, a survey or business owners and customers on Smith Streets, and numerous field visits.
Chapter volunteers participated in a public charette in Seaside Heights on October 29 to support the non-profit, Architecture for Humanity. AfH is working with the community to design a new event center on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights. The event center will be funded with money raised by MTV after Superstorm Sandy damaged the Seaside Heights boardwalk.
CPAP volunteers worked with this Community Based Organization in the Bergen Hill section of Jersey City to update its community plan so it would continue quality for funds from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. The team held two public meetings to see how priorities in the neighborhood changed since the original plans were prepared. The plan was then updated with the new information.
CPAP volunteers were asked to review the plans by the City’s engineer for quickly rebuilding the waterfront area along Kill Van Kull and Raritan Bay. The area was badly damaged in the storm, and the city wanted to begin the repairs in time for the 20__ summer season on the waterfront. The volunteers attended a presentation by the engineer to the city officials, then, within several days, delivered a review of the proposals. The review affirmed the majority of the engineer’s proposals, and made some recommendations for making the waterfront more resilient in future storms.
The Borough of Bradley Beach sought planning assistance to explore economic and design issues in support of revitalizing its Main Street commercial corridor. The central business district has traditionally thrived based on its rich variety of restaurant offerings, which attract a regional audience on a year round basis. However, that pattern has eroded in recent years, and the district is in need of new strategies for its economic survival.
CPAP volunteers have initiated and run several efforts to introduce Newark public school students to the basic of city planning and how it can lead to positive changes in their neighborhoods. A major goal was to train students in assessing the strengths and weaknesses in their communities and the appropriate process for creating changes in their neighborhoods.