Call for Volunteers – Riverfront Park, Paterson

Community Planning Assistance Program

Habitat for Humanity in Paterson, NJ, in cooperation with the City of Paterson, is looking for a team of volunteer planners to support their efforts to create green space along the Passaic River in the Northside Neighborhood of the First Ward. Habitat is interested in creating two types of green space; a walkway along the river, called Riverwalk, and the creation of sports fields in an area along the river that is dominated by abandoned and marginal industrial and residential properties. The Northside Neighborhood is across the Passaic River from Downtown Paterson. The neighborhood’s population is about 11,000 people.

The proposed Riverwalk would be a continuation of the riverfront greenspace being created by the federal government at the Great Falls Park. Also the City has a grant to create riverfront greenspace near the West Broadway Bridge. Habitat would like to extend the greenway to create a Riverfront Walkway from the Great Falls Park to the Straight Street Bridge, on both side of the river. They are looking for a strategic plan for accomplishing this, plus strategies for encouraging economic development in the neighborhood. An added benefit would be the creation of improved, attractive gateways into the Northside neighborhood at the four bridges that connect the neighborhood to downtown Paterson; West Broadway, Main Street Bridge Street and Straight Street.

The area being considered for athletic fields is along the river and prone to flooding when the Passaic River overflows. The recreation fields could provide badly needed space for sports in this very densely developed neighborhood, and could be a strategy for reducing the damage from flooding by removing buildings from the flood plain. Today a small portion of the land in the neighborhood is for recreation. The proposed athletic fields would replace the vacant and underutilized industrial and residential buildings. The industrial properties include junkyards, body shops, and vacant buildings facing Presidential Street.

Habitat would like to create a strategic plan for extending the greenway all the way to the Straight Street Bridge, and lay out an approach for creating the athletic fields. The plan will help create a vision for the gateways into the Northside Neighborhood and will include economic development strategies. The project would inventory of the properties along the Passaic River and along Presidential Street, their current uses and conditions, and if possible, ownership. The strategic plan would provide the basis for applications to the state and federal government for funding design and implementations. Potential sources could be NRTC funding, Green Acres, Blue Acres, and other neighborhood redevelopment grants.

We are looking for volunteer planners with the following skills and experiences:

• Property research
• Flood control
• Recreation planning
• Urban design
• Project financing
• Outreach

Please send letters of interested to Tom Schulze at cpap@njplanning.org