Part II of an Exploratory Study to Establish a Special Improvement
District on Springfield and South Orange Avenues, Newark, NJ

Report to the Corinthian Housing Development Corporation and New Community Corporation

May 11, 1998


The City of Newark has been ravaged by the flight of capital and disinvestment. However, a partnership of business and the City have offered Newark's commercial business district a much-publicized rebirth. Unfortunately, the Newark neighborhood of West Side Park has seen no such city or private commitment. Revitalization efforts have been left to those within the neighborhood, including the New Community Corporation and Corinthian Housing Development Corporation. These groups have charged us with a two part challenge. First, New Community and Corinthian have asked us to research the Special Improvement District (SID), a strategy used to revitalize neighborhoods nationwide. Second, they have asked us to study SID examples and to develop a best practices model. This report addresses these questions and how the SID concept can be applied in the West Side Park neighborhood.

However, our research and discussions with existing SID staff members and owners, local merchants and officials in Newark, and experts in the field of community and economic development revealed that it was necessary to broaden our study focus. First, it was imperative that we capture and illustrate the organizational process which precedes the implementation of any neighborhood revitalization strategy. It is a long and complex process that requires the commitment and cooperation of all neighborhood actors: business and property owners, residents, public and private agencies, and the nonprofit community.

Second, we needed to look beyond the SID for alternative strategies. The district is a culmination of an organizational process that takes many years, but it is only one option. In this report, we have discussed a number of revitalization strategies for the future of West Side Park. Some are used as alternatives to the SID concept, while others may be used in conjunction with a district.

Third, we look at the local, state, and federal resources available to neighborhoods that are committed to revitalization. While the motivation for revitalization must come from within the community, outside sources of funding, training, and assistance are invaluable.

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