EO mayor to break ground on SAUR redevelopment project

EAST ORANGE, NJ — East Orange Mayor Ted Green is scheduled to break ground on the new Sussex Avenue Urban Renewal project on the site of the former Arcadian Gardens public housing project, nicknamed “Lil City,” on Tuesday, April 3, at 1 p.m., along with the city’s redevelopment partners, J.G. Petrucci Company Inc. and TD+Partners.

The Green administration’s official motto is: “One city, one community with one goal and that equals progress.” According to city officials, the new Sussex Avenue Urban Renewal project is an example of this.

Green mentioned the site during his inauguration speech Monday, Jan. 1, and mentioned it again during his Black Tie Affair on Saturday, March 17.

“Growing up with my dad and mom and also with other mentors in our community, like Ronald Salahuddin, growing up down the hill — Lil City, around Eaton Place, Ogle Park, Lincoln Park — where most people thought we were never going to be the ones to ever succeed,” said Green on Saturday, March 17.

“But I can tell you this: A lot of brothers and sisters that came from that area have been very successful. We had some setbacks, but we were very successful. Naughty By Nature, for instance, who came and was one of the most phenomenal hip-hop groups ever. You saw it at the Hall of Fame inauguration, where we had great athletes, performers, businessmen, educators and leaders from every profession and walk of life who are all from the great city of East Orange.”

Green said East Orange has a great history and an even brighter future ahead.

“East Orange has a lot of talent. East Orange has a lot of folks in our community that want to see our city grow,” said Green. “They care about the community and, guess what? We’re going to continue to work together and show folks that, as an urban community, we can work together.”

Green is continuing the trend in local leadership that his mayoralty represents by breaking ground on the new SAUR project on the site of the old “Lil City” projects.

“This project is very personal to me because it represents a major turning point for a neglected part of our city that I once called home,” he said Monday, March 26. “Arcadian Gardens is where I was raised. It was more than a community, we were like family,” added the mayor, who grew up on Steuben Street and Sussex Avenue. “Now, we are excited to bring this innovative project that will provide permanent jobs for people in East Orange and make Sussex Avenue a home again for over 80 families.”

According to the arcadian gardens website, the public housing was built 1969. In February 2004, the Housing Authority of the city of East Orange “decided to start the demolition of Arcadian Gardens.”

While the city’s goal was “‘to remove obsolete, non-viable public housing from it’s housing portfolio and replace it with appropriately-designed, quality housing,’ according to the website, “there hasn’t been any redeveloping on the grounds where the short brown and beige buildings once stood, which housed mostly single-parent women raising their children. Despite what one may think, Arcadian Gardens was once a safe place to live from the beginning to the mid to late ‘80s.”

Now Green and the city’s redevelopment partners are about to breathe new life into the old “Lil City” area on Sussex Avenue, which already boasts one of the busiest Planet Fitness health clubs in the area.

“This pioneering redevelopment will transform an underserved neighborhood by remediating an 8.3 acre brownfield site located at 11 Sussex Ave.,” said Green, who has a background in construction and redevelopment. “This innovative economic development project will house a brand new location for ABC Supply Co. Inc.; H2Grow, a hydroponic urban farm and education center; high quality workforce housing; and a 30,000 square-foot commercial hub. It will also provide over 200 construction jobs and, upon completion, it will provide several permanent jobs for East Orange residents.”

Green said the new SAUR project is a “win-win” for East Orange and his redevelopment partners agreed with him.

“We strongly believe that these types of creative and community-focused public private partnerships are the key to revitalizing our urban centers and we are grateful to Mayor Ted R. Green for his leadership,” Greg Rogerson, principal of J.G. Petrucci Company Inc., said Monday, March 26. “This is our second collaboration with ABC Supply Company and we are excited to facilitate their expansion in the New Jersey market and, in particular, urban communities. ABC Supply Company shares TD+Partners’ and our commitment to transformative urban redevelopment, and we believe that this project represents a model for disadvantaged neighborhoods in cities.”