Executive Summary of Great Falls Neighborhood Plan 2022-2032 (20 pages)

Page 1

The Great Falls Neighborhood A 10 Year Plan • 2022–2032 Paterson, New Jersey Proposed Strategies and Activities

Our Stakeholders

SPECIAL THANKS to everyone who participated in our stakeholder meetings leading to the creation of this plan, especially residents. Your input has been essential to the making of the Great Falls Neighborhood Plan!


Jason Rowe

Diane Sterner

New Jersey Community Capital Education

Gilman Choudhury

Martín Dominguez

Lorennys Garcia

Jennifer Guizar

Michael Hill

Enrique Noguera

Dr. Curtis Palmore

Erica Plaza

Mohammed Uddin

Local Businesses

Jeff Abrams

Mery K. Aguilar

Manoucheka JeanBaptiste

Allyson Burzinski

Migdalia Campos

Carmen D. Carroll

Jorge Cortez

Kenny Disla

Jose A. Estrella

Yan Carlos Filpo

Elio Gencarelli

Jolanda Gonzalez

Josephine Grambone

Aracely Gutierrez

Victor Hernandez

Claudia Herrera Bernal

Eliot Jeri

Juan E. Lopez

Marco Marure

George McLoof

Victor M. Morales

Diana Navarro

Juan Carlos Nova

Leomar Paulino

Lilliam Rodriguez

Victor D. Ruiz

Antonio Sanchez

Lawrence C. Stabile

Khoder Itani

Maria Sudario

Abbas Uddin

Olga Vargas

Carlos Vera

Matilde Vera

Miguel Victoria Government

Gianfranco Archimede

Michael Lysicatos

Michael Powell

William Rodriguez

Neighborhood Residents

Mufti Ahmed

Cortea Akens

Nazma Begum

Alma Begum

Coral Colon

Lizbeth Contreras

Carolyn Cruz

Raquel De la Cruz

KaShena Fabor

Sonji Lopez

Maria Sanchez

Charletta Maye

Jessenia Medina

Duran Norma

Daniel ‘DJ’ Osorio

Kenya Percival

Myriam Quiroz

Beatriz Renjifo

Jessica Schutte

Hannah Tannin

Gladys Urena

Aida Vasquez

Janet Velazquez


Mike Cassidy

Michael De Blasio

David Gelman

Eddie Gonzalez

Robert Guarasci

Tamara Lugo

Lety Reyes

Tiffany Shepherd

Cristina Tone

Valerie Trawinski


Darren Boch

Jennifer Brady

Marie Caliendo

Carolyn McCombs

Kenneth M. Morris, Jr.

Heather Thompson

Martin Vergara

Jim Walsh

Leonard Zax

1 Great Falls Neighborhood – Proposed Strategies and Activities 2022

January, 202

Dear Friend of NJCDC:

NJCDC’s new Great Falls Neighborhood Plan is the result of approximately 18 months of work with localresidents who live in one of the most diverse anddynamic neighborhoods anywhere in our state. The plan is one that is resident-driven, and the six overarching goals that the plan articulates are entirely reflective of the priorities of local residents. While we may have had to develop our plan overa virtual platform due to the ongoingpandemic, the final product flowsfrom dozens of topic-drivenconversations with residents, focus groups with community stakeholders, and surveys.

Paterson, founded by AlexanderHamilton in 1792 as our country’s first planned industrialcity, is acit y on the rebound. Once a leadingcenter of commerce and industry, Paterson today faces many of the same challenges common throughout urban centers in our state andnation. But thereis significant hope and opportunity in front of us. Our population is growing,as documentedbythe latest census, and our city is home to a wide diversityof residents hailing from countriesas differentasPeruand Bangladesh. The Great Falls Neighborhood, which is the focus of this plan, is just as diverse and--with the Great Falls of the Passaic River andthe surrounding nationalparkatits epicenter--is an attractive andexciting place to work, visit, and call home.

We invite you to delve into this plan and learn about the Great FallsNeighborhood, and the goals, strategies, and activities that the communityhas establishedas our priorities for the next decade.I believe that these goals while ambitious areentirely attainable as NJCDC continues to facilitate board community and stakeholder participation to reach our objectives.

I would like to thank everyone who participated in this process, most notablylocal residents who dedicated considerable time and effort to make this plan possible. After reviewing it, I hope you agree that the Great Falls Neighborhood is as unique and promising a place as we believeitis and while we have work to do to make it better we areall readyand excitedat the task before us.


Building Address 32 Spruce Street Paterson, NJ 07501 Mailing Address PO Box 6976 Paterson, NJ 07509 T 973 413 1616 F 973 413 1640 E rguarasci@njcdc.org W www.njcdc.org
The Great Falls of the Passaic River

Executive Summary


About Our Neighborhood

The Great Falls Neighborhood of Paterson, New Jersey is a community of 13,423 people who reside in the blocks to the east and the west of the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. The neighborhood has a rich history: It was a planned industrial city, envisioned by the first U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. During the 19th and early 20th century, its manufacturing mills were powered by water diverted from the Passaic River above the Falls which ran through its raceway system—an engineering marvel in its time. The neighborhood was the home to waves of immigrants who labored in the mills—and who stood up, through labor organizing and strikes, to demand respect and their fair share of the abundance they helped produce.

Today, the people and families who make up the neighborhood are diverse—59% Hispanic, 17% Asian, and 14% African American—and young, with more than one in four residents under the age

of 18, and with roughly as many residents under the age of 5 as residents age 65 and older. Nearly half of the population is foreign born, coming from countries like Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, and Peru. Half of the population speaks Spanish in their household, and one in five residents speaks Bangladeshi.

Despite high rates of employment, the neighborhood is poor, with a 30% poverty rate and a median annual household income of between $35,000 and $40,000. 84% of households rent their homes, and, despite nearly 20% of households receiving some form of housing subsidy, residents face issues related to housing quality and affordability.

Notwithstanding these challenges, the neighborhood community today, like its predecessors, has fought its way forward—building community, advocating for itself, and creating opportunities for improvement.

5 Great Falls Neighborhood – Proposed Strategies and Activities 2022
City of Paterson, New Jersey
Executive Summary

Map of the Great Falls Neighborhood


The Great Falls Neighborhood is a one-square mile area located in the central-western section of Paterson, NJ. The neighborhood straddles both sides of the Passaic River, with the Great Falls National Historic Park functioning as the neighborhood’s center. In addition to the National Historic Park, the neighborhood includes the western edge of downtown Paterson, the Great Falls Historic District, with its historic mill buildings and raceway infrastructure, S.U.M. Island, and a number of commercial and residential areas.

Irregular in shape, Union Avenue serves as the neighborhood’s northwestern border and West Broadway serves as its northeastern border. The neighborhood’s eastern edge continues south down Main Street until reaching Grand Street, at which point the boundary continues further East until arriving at the railroad tracks and continuing southward. Interstate 80 serves as the neighborhood’s southern border east of the Passaic River until New Street. The riverfront itself serves as the southern border for the neighborhood’s western half.

Neighborhood Boundary

GREAT FALLS NEIGHBORHOOD Proposed Strategies and Activities – 2022 Great Falls Neighborhood – Proposed Strategies and Activities 2022 6


For over 28 years, New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) has embraced the Great Falls Neighborhood and has been working hand-in-hand with local residents to improve conditions. As a local non-profit organization focused on the neighborhood and serving more than 4,000 children and families each day through a variety of programs and services, the Great Falls Neighborhood is NJCDC’s home. Throughout its history, NJCDC has worked with community residents and stakeholders to develop housing, community facilities, parks, schools, workforce programs, and— most importantly—community leaders.

In 2008, NJCDC convened a resident-driven neighborhood planning process to develop the neighborhood’s first neighborhood plan. Over the past fifteen years, NJCDC and residents have made significant progress implementing this neighborhood plan, building over 200 units of housing; hosting numerous block parties and community events; beautifying the neighborhood with murals and gardens; improving parks and building playgrounds; launching the Neighborhood Help Center for educational and know-your-rights training; and enhancing leadership-development efforts.

7 Great Falls Neighborhood – Proposed Strategies and Activities 2022
Executive Summary

A Community-Driven Plan

In 2020, NJCDC launched a new communitydriven neighborhood planning process to develop a renewed set of strategies and activities and build on the foundation that had already been set. Key to this foundation were the community leaders who worked with NJCDC and who formed the backbone of this planning effort.

Over the course of 18 months in 2020 and 2021, in the midst of the COVID pandemic—NJCDC and community leaders met to discuss priorities and key issues, and to develop proposed strategies and activities to advance the neighborhood. These community leaders also incorporated other stakeholders into the process—including local business owners, public officials, non-profits serving the community—to obtain their unique insight. Supported by NJCDC, residents also surveyed a representative sample of neighborhood households and the property conditions of every single parcel in the neighborhood. All told, over 600 neighborhood residents participated in this planning process, which included 17 community meetings and stakeholder focus groups.

Time of Opportunity

This neighborhood plan arrives at a particularly opportune time for the Great Falls Neighborhood. The neighborhood is riding a wave of hundreds of millions of dollars in private and public investment. This investment is further enhancing an already asset-rich environment. There is political will across levels of government to support the neighborhood’s improvement, and strong community leadership, honed through over a decade of NJCDC led neighborhood revitalization work and an intensive, community-driven planning process. With a track record of getting things done, NJCDC has shown its capacity and effectiveness as a lead organization in these revitalization efforts, and has formed a budding partnership with St. Joseph’s Health that promises to improve the health of the community in more ways than one.

GREAT FALLS NEIGHBORHOOD Proposed Strategies and Activities – 2022 Great Falls Neighborhood – Proposed Strategies and Activities 2022 8

Executive Summary

Great Falls Neighborhood Snapshot


Language Other Than English Spoken At Home

of Total Population (Spanish: 49.1%; “Indo-European” [Bangladeshi]: 23.1%)

(Source: 2015-2019 US Census American Community Survey Five-Year Estimates)

9 Great Falls Neighborhood – Proposed Strategies and Activities 2022 Overall Population 13,423 People Households 3,526 Households Living in “Group Quarters” 7% of Total Population Age Percent of Total Population Under 18 Years Old 27.7% Age 18-64 61.8% Age 65+ 10.5%
Race Percent of Total Population Some Other Race 35.3% White 30.5% Asian 16.8% African American 13.9% Two or More Races 3.2% Ethnicity Percent of Total Population Hispanic 59.9%
Born/ Language Foreign-Born
44.7% of Total Population
Income Median Household Income $35,000-$39,000 Poverty Rate 30.8% Housing % of Households Homeowners 16.0% Renters 84.0% Receiving Some Form of Housing Subsidy 19.5% Education Have at least
School Degree (Age 25 and Older) 69.3% Have at least a Bachelors Degree (Age 25 and Older) 11.0% Employment Employment-Population Ratio, Age 24-54 67.0% Workers Age 20 and Older Employed Full-time, Year-Round 70.6%
Limited English Proficiency 38.2% of Population Age 5 and Older
a High

Summary of Goals and Strategies

Goal 1. Empowered Community

Strategy 1.1: Conduct Effective and Empowering Community Organizing

Community organizing is essential to creating a truly empowered community. This strategy looks to create a broader more focused and structured community organizing program, that will be integrated into all of NJCDC’s activities.

Strategy 1.2: Support Resident-Led Community Initiatives

An empowered community is able to take direct initiative to improve the neighborhood through organizing projects and other community-improvement efforts. This strategy supports residents in carrying out these types of projects and efforts, including trash clean ups, beautification projects that plant trees or apply fresh paint to eyesores, or resident-organized block parties that bring neighbors together.

Strategy 1.3: Continue and Enhance the Neighborhood Help Center as a Community Hub

This strategy expands the reach and impact of NJCDC’s Neighborhood Help Center. The Center will extend its hours and open satellite sites. The Center will also increase its service offerings to place greater focus on community organizing and immigrant integration as well as financial literacy and budgeting.

Strategy 1.4: Improve Public Safety

Great Falls residents identify public safety as an especially pressing community issue. Starting from the goal of an empowered community, this strategy will empower neighborhood residents to address public safety issues by working directly with the police, City officials, and other residents employing a diverse set of tactics.

GREAT FALLS NEIGHBORHOOD Proposed Strategies and Activities – 2022 Great Falls Neighborhood – Proposed Strategies and Activities 2022 10

Executive Summary

Goal 2. Neighborhood Revitalization

Strategy 2.1: Support Local Businesses and Commercial Corridors

The Great Falls Neighborhood has a number of retail and restaurant corridors that serve the community by providing residents with groceries, meals, personal services, and other consumer needs. This strategy will help strengthen local businesses both individually and collectively by connecting businesses to resources and capital, enhancing the look and feel of retail districts, and attracting visitors through joint marketing efforts.

Strategy 2.2: Promote Tourism Opportunities Created by the National Park to Spur Economic Development and Revitalization

The Great Falls National Historical Park is a tremendous neighborhood asset that brings visitors from around the country into the Great Falls Neighborhood on a daily basis. However, the neighborhood is not yet fully capturing the potential economic benefit of the National Park. This strategy seeks to better position the neighborhood to realize these economic benefits while also enhancing the options and experience of visitors to the National Park.

11 Great Falls Neighborhood – Proposed Strategies and Activities 2022

Strategy 2.3: Improve Parks and Recreational Assets

There are a number of other parks and recreational assets in the neighborhood that suffer from under-utilization and are in significant need of improvement. This strategy looks to improve quality of life for neighborhood residents and give them more opportunities for living healthy lifestyles by making these improvements and upgrades to the neighborhood’s parks and green spaces so that they are inclusive, healthy places.

Strategy 2.4: Help Residents Access and Create Good Jobs

Despite working consistently, Great Falls residents generally earn relatively low wages. Helping residents access higher wage jobs has major potential to transform the neighborhood. This strategy seeks to achieve this through education and training, partnerships with employers, and labor rights organizing.

Strategy 2.5: Facilitate Large-Scale, Strategic Economic Development Projects at Key Neighborhood Sites

With the neighborhood attracting tremendous levels of investment and development, community leaders have an important role to play in helping to define and facilitate future large-scale economic development projects in the neighborhood. This strategy aims first to cultivate and maintain a policy and planning environment that promotes positive, equitable redevelopment.

Strategy 2.6: Implement and Improve Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Infrastructure

Given its density, the Great Falls Neighborhood has great potential to be a walkable, bikeable neighborhood. Unfortunately, the neighborhood currently lacks critical pedestrian and cycling safety infrastructure to fully achieve this potential. This strategy looks to change that.

– 2022 Great Falls Neighborhood – Proposed Strategies and Activities 2022 12
GREAT FALLS NEIGHBORHOOD Proposed Strategies and Activities
NJCDC CEO Bob Guarasci with our charter school students

Executive Summary

Goal 3. Education and Youth Development

Strategy 3.1: Expand the Full-Service Community School Model

The Full-Service Community School Model has proven hugely successful in supporting students and their families through extended school day hours, social and health services, family strengthening activities, and educational and personal development programs. This strategy seeks to expand the full-service community school model to all of the neighborhood’s K-12 schools and expand the offerings of current programs

Strategy 3.2: Host a Broad Array of Education and Youth Development Programs

Over the past decade, NJCDC has cultivated a core set of youth development programs. Despite the impact of these efforts, neighborhood youth still face obstacles to achieving their full potential, often struggling with issues related to poverty, parental immigration status, mental and emotional health, limited adult mentors who have completed college, and other factors. This strategy seeks to continue and enhance these educational and youth development efforts to support neighborhood youth from early childhood through college and career readiness.

13 Great Falls Neighborhood – Proposed Strategies and Activities 2022

Goal 4. Quality, Affordable Housing

Strategy 4.1: Develop Quality, Affordable Housing within the Neighborhood Housing affordability is a major issue for Great Falls Residents. This strategy seeks to develop a diverse mix of quality, affordable housing to meet the needs of the neighborhood.

Strategy 4.2: Tenant Rights Education, Assistance, and Advocacy

The vast majority (84%) of neighborhood households rent their homes. Great Falls renters experience a number of challenges, from affordability to issues related to quality, health and safety, maintenance, and habitability. To confront these challenges, this strategy will provide tenant rights education; support tenant rights cases; and advocate for enactment and enforcement of City policies that better protect tenants.

Strategy 4.3: Promote Homeownership

Recognizing the importance of homeownership, this strategy seeks to maintain and increase the homeownership rate in the community, with a particular emphasis on helping existing neighborhood families prepare for and achieve homeownership.

GREAT FALLS NEIGHBORHOOD Proposed Strategies and Activities – 2022 Great Falls Neighborhood – Proposed Strategies and Activities 2022 14

Executive Summary

Goal 5. Vibrant Arts, Culture, and Recreation

Strategy 5.1: Elevate the Arts as a Major Driver of Neighborhood Revitalization

The arts have significant potential to support the revitalization of the Great Falls Neighborhood given the neighborhood’s physical, natural, cultural, and human assets. However, for the arts to achieve their full potential as a driver of the revitalization of the Great Falls Neighborhood, they need to be further elevated within the community and aligned with other key factors impacting neighborhood life.

Strategy 5.2: Curate the Neighborhood with Arts and Cultural Works and Events

This strategy seeks the production, display, and performance of works of arts and culture throughout the neighborhood. It also looks to share and celebrate the neighborhood’s cultural and ethnic

diversity through ethnic heritage festivals and parades. These efforts will beautify the neighborhood, inspire community pride, and build unity.

Strategy 5.3: Develop and Open the Paterson Youth Arts Center

NJCDC is in the initial phases of an adaptive reuse project to transform the historic First Presbyterian Church into the Paterson Youth Arts Center. This strategy seeks to achieve this asset’s full potential, by completing the construction of the Paterson Youth Arts Center and enriching it with programming.

Strategy 5.4: Continue and Expand Existing Arts Programming

This strategy seeks to expand our arts programming as a means of engaging more local residents, providing creative programming for neighborhood youth, and showcasing the rich array of talent that exists in Paterson.

15 Great Falls Neighborhood – Proposed Strategies and Activities 2022
NJCDC’s 25th Anniversary Concert at the Great Falls


Proposed Strategies and Activities – 2022

Strategy 5.5: Enhance Recreational Opportunities in Neighborhood Parks and Beyond

Parks feel safer and more enjoyable when they are actively used by community members. They also are spaces where community members can gather together, engage in healthy physical activity, and improve their mental health through exposure to fresh air, sunlight, and nature. In order to bring more people to the parks in the Great Falls Neighborhood and encourage their use, this strategy proposes holding a wide range of programs in the parks.

Great Falls Neighborhood – Proposed Strategies and Activities 2022 16

Executive Summary

Goal 6. Promote Health and Wellbeing

Strategy 6.1: Promote Access to Health Services

Building a strong and resilient community requires ensuring that residents have access to health care services. This strategy will expand residents’ access to existing health care services and

Future Barclay Street Healthy Homes Project

address the gaps and barriers that exist within the current health care service infrastructure.

17 Great Falls Neighborhood – Proposed Strategies and Activities 2022

GREAT FALLS NEIGHBORHOOD Proposed Strategies and Activities – 2022

Strategy 6.2: Support Healthy Lifestyles

Health is about more than just accessing health care services—it is about living a healthy lifestyle. Through education and programing, this strategy will support community residents and families in

living heathier lifestyles, thus building a stronger and more resilient community in the Great Falls Neighborhood.

Great Falls Neighborhood – Proposed Strategies and Activities 2022 18

NJCDC’s Board of Trustees

Donald F. Buckley, Chair TD Bank

Anthony Coscia, Vice Chair Windels Marx

David Berninger, Treasurer ICBC

Carline Morrison, Secretary BD

Eric Daleo Gateway Development Commission

Nita Das S&P Global Etta Denk Bank of America

Robert Garrison Laborers’ International Union Robert Guarasci, Ex-Officio NJCDC Founder & CEO

Victor J. Herlinsky, Jr. Sills Cummis

William Pascrell, III Princeton Public Affairs Group

Kenyatta Stewart, Esq. City of Newark

Martin Vergara II

Morgan Stanley

E-mail: info@njcdc.org

• Website: www.njcdc.org

New Jersey Community Development Corporation
Spruce Street, Paterson, New Jersey 07501
Fax: 973-413-1640
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.