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Community Collaborative Initiative Launches in Paterson

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe and New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) CEO Tim Sullivan joined Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh at the Great Falls Visitor Center to launch the Community Collaborative Initiative (CCI) program in Paterson.

“Gov. Murphy’s economic development plan is focused on making targeted investments in our communities, including the remediation and redevelopment of legacy industrial sites where contamination has inhibited growth,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of the EDA. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Commissioner McCabe and her team at DEP to bring the Community Collaborative Initiative to Paterson and other cities where it can help pursue sustainable economic growth and environmental policy goals.”

The CCI program embeds DEP staff at the ground-level within communities, where they use their expertise to help local leaders address environmental concerns effectively and appropriately. The NJEDA recently partnered with the DEP to expand the program into five new communities, including Paterson. The CCI representative in Paterson will help City leadership overcome complex obstacles and open pathways to successful remediation and redevelopment of contaminated sites, including the Allied Textile Printing (ATP) site and Hinchcliffe Stadium.

“We are excited to get to work in Paterson. The Community Collaborative Initiative exemplifies Governor Murphy’s commitment to revitalizing communities in a sustainable way that protects our environment and takes their unique needs into consideration,” said DEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “CCI is a successful model for addressing multiple environmental and community challenges throughout the state and we look forward to applying it here.”

The CCI program has a strong track record of success in the communities where it has been operating: Bayonne, Camden, Perth Amboy and Trenton. In Camden, CCI staff collaborated with local leaders and DEP experts to jumpstart the process of transforming a 61-acre landfill into restored shoreline and uplands, with improvements such as the creation of new tidal wetlands and recreational amenities for residents. CCI has had similar success in Perth Amboy, where embedded staff facilitated the launch of a project to clean up a 6-acre scrap heap and build a new park on the site. In Trenton, CCI staff helped to advance the development of the Assunpink Greenway Park – a 99-acre redevelopment project that will include soccer fields, a waterfront walk and other amenities.

“Not only are brownfield sites dangerous eyesores, they also take up space that could be put to more productive use. A key component of Governor Murphy’s commitment to investing in communities is helping communities transform these contaminated sites into productive community assets,” said EDA Senior Brownfields Advisor Elizabeth Limbrick. “I am excited to work with Mayor Sayegh, DEP Commissioner McCabe, and the CCI team to bring the EDA’s resources for brownfield remediation and revitalization to bear in Paterson to bring new life to spaces that have been vacant or underutilized for years.”

Recognizing CCI’s successful track record, the EDA and DEP in March formed a partnership to expand the initiative to include Bridgeton, Jersey City, Millville, Newark, Paterson, Paulsboro, Salem City, and Vineland. Under the partnership, EDA funding will supplement the existing two full-time equivalent DEP employees dedicated to CCI with an additional six full-time equivalent employees. These new full-time employees will work with community leaders, developers, and government officials in the newly-added cities to facilitate brownfield remediation that aligns with the communities’ priorities and plans for the future.

“We are thrilled that the DEP and EDA have selected Paterson as one of the communities to be included in the expanded CCI program,” said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh. “We look forward to partnering with our CCI representative to complete a variety of critical remediation projects, including reopening Hinchcliffe Stadium and revitalizing the historic Allied Textile Printing site.”

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