We are currently fundraising monies to help the Morris Canal Redevelopment Area Community Development Corporation & Coalition dba (“Morris Canal CDC”)- a community based, tax exempt, non-profit organization- along with its Stakeholders, residents, neighborhood activist, and business owners bring forth a lawsuit against the city of Jersey City and the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA) for breaking the law. I hope that you will consider joining us in this fight. Please read below regarding our fight against the city of Jersey City and the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA) and how you can help.
Since 1999 the Morris Canal Community has been fighting to protect its neighbors and families. They fought for Community Empowerment, community gardens and horticultural education, decent affordable housing, job training, economic development, the cleanup of contamination and chromium in the neighborhood, the building of Lafayette Pool and Berry Lane Park. The Morris Canal Community- a historically black and brown community- continues to be disregarded and disrespected by the very city that represents it.
The city of Jersey City through its staff and councilpersons have deceived the community with false and incorrect claims regarding the expansion of Berry Lane Park. The city has erroneously stated that the lots known as Steel Technologies (417 Communipaw Avenue) was never slated to be purchased for the expansion of Berry Lane Park, despite clear redevelopment maps and grant applications declaring otherwise. Now, the city states that it did not have the monies to purchase the lot of land, despite being granted about $2 million dollars for the acquisition- the green acres agreement (as recent as 2018). In addition, to disregarding its green acres agreement with the State of New Jersey, the city has violated the U.S. EPA Brownfield Pilot Program Agreement and the Morris Canal Redevelopment Plan by miserably failing to adhere to notice requirements, breaching its contractual agreements, promises and certification. The due process violations at the planning board level should have forced the city to practice due diligence and investigate the allegations. However, the city council disregarded the allegations and pushed forward the developer’s project for an out of place, 17 Story High-Rise, 350 + Luxury Rental Housing Development in an neighborhood that currently houses 2-5 story houses and an average family income of approximately $38,000. Although the community & its Stakeholders overwhelmingly said no to this proposed project, the City Council overwhelmingly voted for it, with only Councilman Lavarro & Soloman voting against it. It is our strong and fearful belief that a development of this magnitude does not benefit the vested, long term residents in this community, particularly those who want to stay but instead, will force out and displace them, because they cannot afford the projected rents of $2400+ per month. We are also concern of the rapid furtherance of the gentrification process that this project will bring.
We must fight!
Thanks to the late Councilwoman Melissa Holloway and former Councilwoman Mary Donnelley, the Redevelopment Plan Ordinance contains a Community Empowerment Clause that was put in place to protect the community's voice and development wish list, instead, it has been blatantly disregarded by this administration. The law must be abided and followed by all, this includes the developers, city staff, city officials and especially our elected City Council Members, who are our law makers; we cannot allow them to be the law breakers! Community members, leaders and Stakeholders spoke to councilpersons on an individual basis, wrote letters, and voiced their concerns at various public city council meetings, to no avail. We are fighting to save our Park, our Community and our Voice and our only recourse is to sue the city.
Where you come in:
Please consider donating, $5, $10, $20, no donation is too small or too large! Any donation will make an impact!. We need your help to accomplish our goal of fundraising $50,000 to retain legal counsel and pursue the aforesaid issues.
You can make contributions on our crowdfunding page [link to page]. If you can’t give, but still want to support our cause, please share our page with your friends, family members, and coworkers. With more people aware of our cause, we’ll be one step closer to reaching our goal.
Thank you in advance for your support. If you have any questions or want further information regarding the above, please feel free to contact the Morris Canal CDC via email: [email redacted] or by phone.
- Mangelin Rivera
- Uche Akpa
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