N.J. Society of Municipal Engineers honors renovation of Ironbound’s main artery
Newark, NJ – November 13, 2009 – Mayor Cory A. Booker and Acting Engineering Director Mehdi Mohammadish announced today that the City of Newark has won the New Jersey Society of Municipal Engineers Honor Place Award in the Municipal Construction Management Projects “F” Category for the first phase of the Ferry Street Streetscaping Project. The Award will be presented at the Society’s Annual Luncheon, to be held on November 18, 2009, in Room 302 at the Atlantic City Convention Center, in conjunction with the New Jersey League of Municipalities Annual Conference.
The $1.9 million project, funded by the City of Newark and the New Jersey Department of Transportation, was a partnership with the Ironbound Business Improvement District, designed to enhance the Ironbound’s central artery and gateway to businesses and restaurants in the East Ward, as well as improve safety conditions for pedestrians crossing the busy thoroughfares
“This statewide recognition of our achievements in the first phase of our renovation of Ferry Street is a validation of our efforts to enhance the attractiveness of this dining and shopping destination for our residents and visitors,” Mayor Booker said. “The award is recognition of our successful efforts to make Newark the national standard for urban transformation, and create a safer, stronger, and prouder City. I congratulate our entire Engineering team on this project and this award.”
Under the program, state-of-the-art sidewalks with planters and decorative lighting were placed down Ferry Street from Union to Madison Streets. These sidewalks improved safety for motorists and pedestrians. The project also reconstructed sidewalks, utilities and drainage, created fence panels and utilized already existing bike paths. New street furniture, signage and traffic lights also enhanced safety and provided sanctuary for pedestrians. Berto Construction of Rahway, New Jersey, was the contractor.
IBID President Steven T. Yglesias noted that effective public/private partnerships and shared goals for the Ironbound and the City of Newark were key factors in making the streetscape project a reality. “The Ferry Street project has been greatly anticipated and represents years of effort and commitment to the Ironbound community on the part of the IBID’s board of directors and its executive director, Seth Grossman,” Yglesias stated. “The IBID appreciates the support of Mayor Booker, Councilman Amador and the entire Municipal Council in moving this project forward to extend and enhance ongoing redevelopment efforts linking the Ironbound to other parts of the City.”
Acting Engineering Director Mohammadish noted that the launching of the Ferry Street project began just as the second phase of the Broad Street Streetscaping was being completed. “We are moving forward on all of our streetscaping projects,” Director Mohammadish said. “I am grateful to the New Jersey Society of Municipal Engineers for recognizing the creative efforts of our design team and the hard work of our construction crews. The next phases of Ferry Street will be even better,” said Director Mohammadish.
Phase I of the Ferry Street Streetscaping was completed in May 2009. The Newark Urban Enterprise Zone is providing $2 million to fund Phase II of the Ferry Street Streetscape Project, which will cover Madison Street to Merchant Street (Five Corners), and is currently under construction.
Under the Booker administration, the Department of Engineering has begun a vigorous program of improving the City’s infrastructure. The City of Newark is in the midst of its biggest park expansion and rehabilitation initiative in more than a century. On July 28, Newark opened Nat Turner Park, the largest city-owned park. The City, working with GreenSpaces, a public/private partnership, and the Trust for Public Land, has committed $40 million for this parks initiative. Thus far, the City has completed new parks and fields at St. Peter’s Park, Boys Park, First Street and Thomas Silk Parks, Ironbound B Field, and, in cooperation with Newark Public Schools, has built a new athletic complex at Weequahic High School. Parks currently are or will soon be under construction in every ward, with a total of 20 new or enhanced parks planned for completion by the end of 2010.
The Department has also launched a comprehensive rehabilitation of the City’s Recreation centers, Police precincts, firehouses, and other facilities. At the same time, the Department of Engineering has opened new repair facilities for City-owned vehicles, added environmentally-friendly electric cars to its motor fleet, installed cameras to catch motorists who run red lights, launched green initiatives, and is continuing the restoration of historic City Hall.
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About the City of Newark, New Jersey
Newark, commonly referred to as Brick City, is the third oldest city in the United States and the largest in New Jersey, with a population of more than 280,000 people. Newark sits on one of the nation’s largest transportation super-structures including an international airport, major rail connections, major highway intersections and the busiest seaport on the east coast.
With a new Administration as of July 2006, Newark continues to see signs of a strong revival. In population, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the northeast. Its six major colleges and universities are further expanding their presence. The production of affordable housing has doubled, businesses are returning and crime is going down. There is still much work to be done but Newark is on its way to achieving its mission: to set a national standard for urban transformation.
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