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Neighborhood Residents Join NJCDC to Unveil New Great Falls Neighborhood Plan

Neighborhood Residents Join NJCDC to Unveil New Great Falls Neighborhood Plan

March 23, 2023


For the last 20 years since moving into our headquarters at 32 Spruce Street, NJCDC has embraced the Great Falls Neighborhood and has been working hand-in-hand with local residents to improve conditions. Throughout our history, we've worked with community residents and stakeholders to develop housing, community facilities, parks, schools, workforce programs, and—most importantly—community leaders.

In 2008, we adopted a place-based approach to our work through the Greater Spruce Street Neighborhood Plan. We're proud of the many accomplishments guided by that plan, and we're equally proud of its successor—the new Great Falls Neighborhood Plan. This Plan—developed with input from over 600 neighborhood residents, business owners, and other stakeholders—will guide our work over the next decade.

Over the past two years, we've facilitated the creation of this new resident-led and resident-driven plan for the neighborhood we serve—Paterson, New Jersey's Great Falls Neighborhood. This Great Falls Neighborhood Plan is the product of significant input from neighborhood residents, business owners, other nonprofits, elected officials, and others. The Plan benefitted from ongoing guidance through the Community Strategies arm of New Jersey Community Capital.

On Thursday, March 16th we hosted an event at our Great Falls Youth Center to unveil the final plan to local residents and stakeholders. The event was open to the entire community and anyone who wished to learn more about the future of the Great Falls Neighborhood. Attendees included local residents, leaders within the non-profit community, business owners, and government officials. The crowd was greeted with a warm welcome by Mayor Andre Sayegh, who praised the work of everyone involved in creating the plan. The Mayor cited NJCDC as a "partner in progress" and an organization "committed to community input.

Guests watched a video—introduced by NJCDC's Director of Community Outreach Eddie Gonzalez—that recounted our many accomplishments since the adoption of our initial plan in 2009. The video highlighted the progress over the last decade and provided image after image of the work that's been accomplished by NJCDC in partnership with the community it serves.

NJCDC senior staff members and neighborhood residents jointly presented each of the plan's six goals:

Goal 1: An Empowered Community was presented by Eddie Gonzalez, along with neighborhood resident Erica Plaza

Goal: 2 Neighborhood Revitalization received perspective from Luis De La Hoz, who is Chairman of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Goal 3: Education and Youth Development was presented by NJCDC's Chief Program Officer David Gelman and Paterson Public Schools' Director of Full Service Outreach & Special Projects Gilman Choudhury

Goal 4: Quality, Affordable Housing was presented by NJCDC's Chief Real Estate Development Officer Michael De Blasio and NJCDC housing resident Quasetta Carter

Goal 5: Arts and Culture was presented by David Gelman, NJCDC's Program Associate Mahbuba Uddin, and neighborhood resident and AmeriCorps member Carolina Franco

Goal 6: Health and Wellbeing was presented by Michael DeBlasio and Kenneth M. Morris Jr., Vice President for External Affairs at St. Joseph's Health

As Paterson Public Schools' Director of Full Service Outreach & Special Projects Gilman Choudhury said, "We know that there are unique barriers in the City of Paterson that we have to overcome. The only way we will be able to fix this is by coming together to collaborate on projects and initiatives. I have really seen NJCDC being at the forefront of a variety of initiatives and the progress that has been happening in the city. They've been working together with others, not to say who gets the credit but how can we make sure the most impact is done by the people here living in the city."

At the end of the event, NJCDC Founder & CEO Bob Guarasci remarked, "Our new plan comes down to two concepts: unity and partnership." He continued, "If you would have come to this neighborhood 10 or 12 years ago, it looked very different from how it looks today. And I can assure you, when you come back in 10 years, you'll see dramatic improvement as a result of the commitment of local stakeholders who can count on NJCDC as a steadfast partner in progress."

View the Great Falls Neighborhood Plan Executive Summary below:



Click here if you would like to read the complete plan.

To view photos of the Plan's Unveiling visit Flickr.com.

View the News Coverage video by WPIX here.

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