Newark’s toughest areas focus of pilot reform plan
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Two of Newark's most blighted and crime-plagued neighborhoods will be the focus of a concentrated effort by multiple agencies in a pilot program announced Monday by Mayor Ras Baraka.
The announcement of the Model Neighborhood plan was held at police headquarters in the South Ward, which borders a 38-block area that is one of the two neighborhoods selected for the program. The other is a 20-block grid in the West Ward just east of the Garden State Parkway.
Both neighborhoods will be targeted with intensive efforts by numerous city agencies including police, fire, housing, health and recreation. The plan is an expanded version of efforts the city made over the summer in a smaller area closer to Newark's downtown.
The city agencies will focus on cracking down on the illegal drug trade, identifying and rebuilding vacant and abandoned properties, reaching out to residents with job training opportunities and improving recreation options for youths. They also will offer incentives to attract professionals to buy homes in the neighborhoods.
Companies involved in rebuilding properties will be encouraged to hire Newark residents, Baraka said.
The mayor said the plan is to review progress after six months to see what has worked and what hasn't. He stressed that the concentrated attention will be temporary, but that it should provide an underpinning for future growth.
"We don't want to be in these neighborhoods for 20 years," he said. "We want to be there for a period of time to scaffold it, and to start a new trajectory."