BY Joe Malinconico
September 29, 2021
PATERSON — Mayor Andre Sayegh says a new city recreation center should be part of Paterson’s spending plan for its $63.7 million allocation from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan COVID-19 recovery program.
Sayegh announced that proposal during a virtual town hall meeting Monday night as he outlined what he called “a framework” for the funding. Sewer system repairs, road resurfacing, park improvements, renovations at police headquarters and the municipal court were among other possible ways the city could use the money, officials said.
“We don’t have a recreation center in Paterson,” Sayegh said during the meeting. “We’re talking about investing in our youth and the parks and improving fields, but what about something indoors, something we’ve been lacking so long. I think we can all agree it’s time for Paterson to finally have a recreation center.”
Officials provided no details on the recreation center proposal. The Paterson Housing Authority has two community centers that include full basketball courts. It’s not clear how Sayegh’s plan would differ from the housing authority facilities.
Paterson Business Administrator Kathleen Long said the city has divided the $63.7 million among six categories of funding under the federal legislation. The rec center would be among possible projects getting $25.5 million under government services to replace lost revenue from COVID-19. Long said that category provides “a lot of flexibility.”
Other possibilities for that $25.5 million are the police headquarters and municipal court renovations, road resurfacing, surveillance cameras and a residential sidewalk repair program.
Officials said local community groups would share in the funding with municipal government. The final plan probably won’t be in place until early 2022, officials said.
Here’s the breakdown for other categories of possible funding:
- $12.5 million for communities hard-hit by COVID-19. That list includes park improvements, anti-violence programs and initiatives to address homelessness.
- $11 million for infrastructure, including sewer and water system improvements as well as reconstruction of River Street.
- $7.8 million for public health, including vaccinations, testing, personal protection equipment, crisis intervention and mental health programs.
- $4.4 million to address negative impacts of the pandemic, including financial counseling and jobs for youths.
- $1 million to $2 million for premium pay for the city’s essential workers during the pandemic.
Officials said the final plan will be presented to the City Council once it’s done.
Original article can be found here.