Fulop touts affordable housing, the arts, & public safety in 11th Jersey City State of the City


Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, a Democratic candidate for governor, touted affordable housing, the arts, public safety, and much more in his 11th State of the City Address last night.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

“We have seen rapid growth and development. Tonight, we will hear from our mayor on our challenges and plans,” Council President Joyce Watterman explained before introducing Fulop.

“We just have so much to be proud of as a city. I feel we all should be proud of where we are. The last 10 years have been among the most transformative of the City in the last 250 years. We are big enough that we’re relevant to every single conversation.”

Fulop noted that when he took office in 2013, City Hall needed many repairs, which have taken place. He believed it was a good metaphor for the city itself.

“Everything here has changed. We did it with a nod to our past. This building represents all of Jersey City … 2023 was a year of historical progress. It’s been one of the greatest renaissance stories in the country.”

He noted there is increased job growth and economic activity in the city, as well as highlighting national acclaim, such as being declared the most LGBTQ-friendly city in the country over the likes of New York City and San Francisco, which drew applause from the audience.

“It gives you a little perspective on what we’re doing here … We’ve permitted nearly three times the amount of housing than New York City,” Fulop also noted, along with the fact that tax abatements haven’t been given for several years.

“We’ve still achieved unprecedented progress. Cities around the region have slowed, but we didn’t.”

Fulop said they have also sought to increase the amount of affordable housing through the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance and the Affordable Housing Overlay zone.

He explained that later this year, they will break ground on the Bayfront project, which will include 8,000 units, of which 35 percent will be affordable housing.

“It represents one of the largest projects in the northeast United States,” Fulop said.

“We’re also reimagined outdated public housing and turning it into mixed community like what we’re doing with Holland Gardens,” Fulop noted.

He added noted the new St. Lucy’s homeless shelter opened last year.

“In Bergen-Lafayette, we’ve invested more than any administration,” Fulop declared.

He noted they moved rented city offices on the waterfront and moved it to Jackson Square. They christened the new Public Safety headquarters there last year.

“It’s hard to argue it hasn’t been a success. You see real private investment near the City Hall Annex. Journal Square is experiencing a revitalization unlike anything we’ve seen,” the mayor asserted.

Fulop added it was difficult to do so for a long time.

“Next month, we’ll break ground on the Loews theater restoration project with Governor [Phil] Murphy. World-class shows will once again be in Journal Square,” he explained.

He added the Centre Pompidou museum is building a location in Journal Square after first being based in Brussels and Shanghai, to applause. He indicated that they are still discussing financing with the governor’s office.

The administration is also working on an affordable housing ordinance with the city council for the Journal Square area.

“Local artists are a priority for us,” Fulop continued, stating that $2 million in grants were awarded to 200 artists in the city.

Fulop also applauded the efforts of the Jersey City Police and Fire Departments.

‘We have reached and exceeded our goals”, he argued.

Many CCTV cameras around the city have helped. A new de-escalation center is also being created. A simulator will create scenarios to train officers to cope with stressful situations.

“We leave the city better than we received it,” Fulop declared.

He praised the fire department to applause, indicating that they responded to 17,000 calls last year. His administration has hired about 800 police officers and 300 firefighters.

Fulop said they’re working on upgrading parks as well.

A three-acre courthouse park will be finished soon, and it will be the largest in the Journal Square area.

The second pedestrian plaza, called “the Homestead,” is being created by Journal Square in the vein of the Newark Ave pedestrian plaza, which has become popular, he argued.

“Jersey City has become a gold standard for smart growth and, of course, community engagement,” Fulop exclaimed.

He noted a new library is being built in Bergen-Lafayette and that several others have already been renovated.

“Our administration has been part of creating five new schools. We did it all without any help from the state,” Fulop added, noting that includes charter schools, county schools, and traditional ones.

The Jersey City mayor also expressed excitement about the SciTech Scity project.

“Six Fortune 500 companies have invested in SciTech Scity, which is breaking ground later this year,” he said.

Fulop explained they have also invested in transit, such as with the Via car service, pointing out that more than half of residents commute without a car.

“We have become a national leader in creating safer streets for pedestrians and drivers. There is still work to be done,” he stated, listing creating 20 miles of bike lanes citywide as another accomplishment for pedestrian safety.

Some of their accomplishments include creating 20 miles of bike lanes.

“ … This will be my last term as mayor and I want to say something about that because it was not an easy decision because I love this city and I’m never leaving here with my family. However, I do believe that it is healthy for a city to transition leadership for fresh ideas and fresh perspectives,” he concluded.

“Trust me, If I could be mayor of Jersey City forever without conscious of whether it’s the best thing for Jersey City, I would do it. This has been a dream job. But I know in my heart that transition and change are necessary for progress here. So why do I share that with you? Because my love for this city is deep. It is a special place with virbant communities made up of amazing people.”

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