In early 2019 Habitat for Humanity in Paterson, NJ contacted the APA-NJ chapter to talk about their need for a team of volunteer planners. They wanted to create a concept for a green space along the Passaic River in the Northside Neighborhood of Paterson, NJ. They wanted two types of green space; a walkway along the river, called Riverwalk, and a sports fields in an area along the river dominated by abandoned and marginal industrial and residential properties. The Northside Neighborhood is across the Passaic River from Downtown Paterson.
Their idea for the Riverwalk would be a continuation of the riverfront greenspace being created by the federal government at the Great Falls National Historic Park in Paterson. Habitat would like to extend the greenway from the Great Falls Park to the Straight Street Bridge, a little over one mile away. They wanted a strategic plan for accomplishing this, plus strategies for encouraging economic development in the neighborhood.
The area being considered for athletic fields is also 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. The fields would replace the vacant and underutilized industrial and residential buildings.
The project would inventory the properties in the area, including their current uses, conditions, and ownership. The strategic plan would provide the basis for future applications to the state and federal government for design and implementation.
The team of volunteers were:
- Margaret (Peg) Seip, AICP/PP, Project Lead
- Zainab Al Mansour, “Zee”, Project Intern, GIS Cartography and Design
- Michael DiGeronimo, AIA/AICP/PP, Urban Design Lead
- Thomas Fusillo, Environmental, Brownfields & Property Analysis
- William Long, Planning & Visioning
- Steven Martini, AICP/PP, Planning & Community Assessment
- Julio Mora, Mapping & Design
- Shweta Puri, Mapping & Design
- Eric Sturm, Urban Planning & Riverwalk Design
- Brian White, Property Research