In a letter to the editor, Morris Canal Community Development Corporation Executive Director June Jones asserts why the Communipaw Crossing project delays were created by the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency.
I am writing as the Executive Director of the Morris Canal Community Development Corporation (MCCDC).
It is imperative that I correct the mischaracterization of our organization which was illustrated purposely by the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA).
The JCRA repeatedly said MCCDC spent 19 years on Communipaw Crossing (408-420 Communipaw Avenue) when the truth is, we’ve only had 7 years to work on it, 3.5 years of which included major delays at the hands of the JCRA!
Communipaw Crossing consists of 5 stories (ground floor retail and 4 stories of 1 to 4-bedroom condominiums) that could house 46 families and create just as many first-time home-ownership opportunities.
The project, just one step away from breaking ground, is now null and void because of JCRA’s recent vote to de-designate us as the non-profit developer.
On Tuesday, February 16, 2022, in a public JCRA Board Meeting, Director Diana Jefferey stated that MCCDC had failed to meet its obligations under the Redevelopment Agreement. This alleged nonperformance led to the Agency’s decision to de-designate us.
The reasons stated for de-designation were incorrect — as I will outline below — and every hurdle that MCCDC was met with (delays and additional costs) were caused by the JCRA.
It is imperative that you know how JCRA failed to properly secure the designated properties; they had mistakenly sold some of the designated parcels and therefore had to reclaim the land; and they gave a part of the designated land away to our former partner.
JCRA also created additional environmental issues. In 2014, while removing an underground storage tank, they caused a spill and did not clean it up. In 2020, instead of removing the other underground storage tank, they filled it with cement.
Tests have shown elevated petroleum levels, but JCRA is not taking responsibility for either issue. The JCRA has erected barrier upon barrier between MCCDC and the success of Communipaw Crossing, despite MCCDC’s due diligence to move development forward.
Might I add, we have already achieved success with the development of 317-319 Pacific Avenue, as it is a 100%, fully affordable, 8-unit rental project with ground-floor retail space serving the community’s needs as we speak.
At a time when anyone attempting to revitalize their neighborhood and empower their community should be celebrated, the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency has instead decided to diminish and halt the efforts of one of the only minority, non-profit CDCs in Jersey City. This is what disparity looks like!
I urge you to look into this issue further at https://actionnetwork.org/letters/supportmccdc. Sign the petition to help MCCDC get re-designated. Let’s get Communipaw Crossing back on track!
MCCDC Executive Director