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The Public Wins a Strengthened Role in Rebuild By Design Projects

May 13th, 2015 by

Photo: Rebuild By Design

Photo: Rebuild By Design

Thanks to a major new provision, the planning process for the Rebuild By Design (RBD) projects in the Meadowlands and along the Hudson River now allows for greater community participation. The provisions are spelled out in a document known as Action Plan Amendment 12, which was prepared by the state, and approved by HUD, in order to make HUD Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds available for the RBD initiative. The funds will be used for the Resist Delay Store and Discharge proposal for Hoboken, Weehawken and Jersey City and the New Meadowlands pilot proposal in Moonachie, Little Ferry, Teterboro, Carlstadt and South Hackensack. (See original story.)

In January New Jersey Future submitted comments on the Amendment emphasizing the need for the RBD projects to address the concerns of, and project impacts to, vulnerable populations, particularly low-income and minority residents in the project areas, and the importance of establishing a meaningful and well-articulated public outreach process that would provide the affected communities opportunities for input at each stage of the RBD projects.

New Jersey Future is pleased to see that the public outreach component of the Action Plan Amendment has been strengthened. It now calls for the creation a committee specifically focused on public engagement and tasked with developing a comprehensive outreach plan, which is expected to be developed and become available for public comment during the third quarter of 2015. This is an encouraging step for residents and businesses who are interested in how the multi-million dollar projects will affect them and their communities.

Questions remain as to the substance of the outreach plan as well as the makeup of the outreach committee, which New Jersey Future hopes will include local organizations with knowledge of the project areas, members of vulnerable communities, and other interested stakeholders. New Jersey Future is eager to see how the public participation process unfolds.

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