STRATEGIC FRAME WORK FOR COMMERCIAL REVITALIZATION
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
Public Utility Resources - PSE&G
PSE&G, as part of its Urban Initiatives program, is partnering with both governmental and other private firms to effect change and bring about economic development in distressed communities. Its Urban Initiatives program, begun in1997, is a way for PSE&G to give back to the community and at the same time strengthen its name in an era of competition. The program targets both social and economic development. The initial project entitled the South Ward Initiative included PSE&G's work as a catalyst developing plans, designing facilities, community organizing, hiring pertinent professionals, coordinating in house designers, and investigating project budgets. The South Ward Initiative project is an effort to create an industrial park - a 100,000 square foot light industrial building to provide up to 300 jobs for the Newark community. On top of this physical improvement, PSE&G plans to develop programs for daycare, enhanced transportation, parenting classes and homeownership classes for the South Ward area. Funds for their projects are donated from PSE&G's Public Service New Millennium Economic Development Fund as well as support which various other private partners PSE&G can bring to the table (O'Neill, 1998).
Although the startup program concentrated in Newark, since then PSE&G has teamed up with the State of New Jersey to assist in redevelopment efforts in all areas with Urban Coordinating Council designation. These include: Elizabeth, Jersey City, Trenton, Camden, Newark and New Brunswick. PSE&G has also partnered with the Governor on the Faith-based Initiative program. The level of commitment in these areas varies depending upon the specific services each community needs. PSE&G is involved in areas that are in the infancy of designing redevelopment programs as well as others that are already on the way toward achieving their goals.
Current PSE&G Projects
PSE&G's involvement ranges from large-scale economic development to grassroots community-based initiatives. The wide varieties of financial and social resources are valuable assets for community-based organizations. PSE&G knows how to partner with both private and public agencies and can act as an intermediary between the city government and the community based-organizations. Perhaps PSE&G could be useful in assisting the group formation process in the West Side Park neighborhood. Because PSE&G is already familiar with Newark, and is quite invested in New Jersey's urban areas, it could be prepared to help organize by contributing both time and money.
- Elizabeth. The work in the City of Elizabeth has made much progress in its UCC. To assist, PSE&G worked on plans for the waterfront area. As part of its program, PSE&G used aerial photography to document existing conditions and as a marketing tool. In conjunction, PSE&G worked on a lighting and landscape design for the area. PSE&G's economic development staff have counseled businesses and discussed options or avenues for growth for Elizabeth's UCC areas.
- Paterson. PSE&G is assisting the residents of the City of Paterson with their application for UCC designation. As part of this application, PSE&G is writing the master plan for the UCC Zone and determining strategies for redevelopment and future goals or objectives. The creation of this plan requires in-depth community organizing and development. PSE& G has the resources to conduct public meetings, coordinate homeowners, and meet with city officials to help voice the community's concerns. PSE&G, as part of its community development program, conducts brainstorming sessions with the community to develop solutions to these concerns.
- Brownfields. PSE&G has representatives who can help communities to establish a program to help combat brownfields in older industrial sites with contamination.
- Grant writing. Since many communities do not have the resources to complete grant applications, PSE&G staff will coordinate and even write the grant proposals for them.
- Private funding sources. Another important avenue for communities that have little to no capital reserves is to tap into private companies. PSE&G has brought in large conglomerates such as AT&T to provide this base for needy communities. PSE&G has also coordinated with universities and colleges to develop educational and job training programs. In particular, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers-Newark have conducted computer classes to help provide necessary job skills training for Newark residents.
- Physical planning. With a small design team on staff, PSE&G is also involved in developing program options for alternative building layouts as well as other physical planning including facade renovations and streetscape improvements.
- Incubators. PSE&G funds the New Brunswick Small Business Incubator to aid in the development of small businesses. Partnering with Chase Bank in Paterson, PSE&G also was a catalyst in their Small Business Development Center.
- Real Estate. PSE&G will work with realtors to bring clients to the doors of vacant buildings.
- Loan programs. PSE&G has brought seed money to the table for loan programs. In cases where there is an inability to pay back the loans, these programs have developed into grants.