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McCarter Switching Station

Building an Empowered Community


National Environmental Justice Conference and Training Program
March 9, 2016

The Mission of Our Movement

The Urban League of Essex County is a non-profit community-based
organization whose mission is to assist African Americans and other
disadvantaged urban residents in the achievement of social and
economic self-sufficiency.

Urban League of Essex County


The Urban League of Essex County (ULEC)

ULECs strategy is geared specifically
towards serving the Essex County
Our goals are:
Economic self-sufficiency for adults
Social and educational equality for
Safe communities and
Civic involvement and responsibility

Founded in 1917
Service Area: Essex County, New
50 full-time, 25 part-time
CEO: Vivian Cox Fraser
10 Board members
Total operating budget of

Racial inclusion

Urban League of Essex County


Programs and Services

ULEC accomplishes its mission through its programs and advocacy efforts.

Early Childhood
& After School

Employment and
Counseling & Job

Social and Econmic

Teen Mentoring,
Tutoring & College

Social Enterprise
and Job Creation
Financial Literacy &

Urban League of Essex County


Impactful Programs

Urban League of Essex County


Focus on Transforming a Community

Fairmount is one of the most distressed

neighborhoods in Newark and isNEIGHBORHOOD
microcosm of the challenges in the City
and other urban areas.

11,000 Residents
4,200 Children
Urban League of Essex County

The Fairmount Strategic Plan

The Plan identified five major goals:
1. Promoting Jobs and Economic
2. Strengthening the Community,
Neighborhood and Families;
3. Reducing Crime and Improving Public
4. Improving Educational Opportunities; and
5. Enhancing Quality of Life through Land
Use and Recreation
Over 1,000 residents participated
in the development of the
Fairmount Strategic Plan
Urban League of Essex County

Tough Challenges in Fairmount

48% of children in
Fairmount live in poverty
Nearly 70% of all children
live in a single parent
23.9% housing vacancy
rate is nearly twice as high
as the national average of
Highest estimated
percentage of subprime
loans and total mortgages in
foreclosure with almost 50
for every 1,000 owneroccupied units going into
Urban League of Essex County
Unemployment is

Children of Fairmount
Compared to other children in the city and state, the average
child in Fairmount is more likely to
live in poverty;
experience or witness violence and crime;
live in a one-parent home;
live in substandard housing and walk past abandoned
homes on the way to school;
not have a clean, safe, environment in which to play
And less likely to
read or write at grade level;
have health insurance;
pass state assessment tests in language arts,
mathematics, and science;
have access to 21st century technology at home;
be prepared for college and career.
Urban League of Essex County

Land Use Impacts the Quality of Life in Fairmount

Urban League of Essex County


How this Project Impacts Fairmount

Economic Impact
We want to ensure all options and alternatives are considered because this project forever takes a
valuable parcel out of potential use to create jobs and economic benefit to this neighborhood.
Estimated economic cost exceeds $80 Million in a five year period

Creates no Jobs

Community Health and Environmental Impact

Concerns about safety, health, and environmental impacts have not been answered
Cumulative and Disparate Impact
Neighborhood already has significant challenges to revitalization poverty, foreclosures,
abandonment, disorder, and this will make our work to improve Fairmount impossible. The impact
on an already depressed community is far different than placement in a more stable neighborhood.
Urban Design Impact
This parcel is the gateway into the neighborhood on a major commercial corridor of a residential
community. The project is large and

Urban League of Essex County


Amplifying Community Voices through Tangible Wins

Fairmounts younger residents protest the

development of the switching station

Longest Zoning Board trial in the history

of the City of Newark, 6 hearings.
Over 15 expert witnesses
85 residents testified

Urban League of Essex County


NIMBY Its Not Personal

Urban League of Essex County


Community Benefit Agreement

Repositioned and slightly smaller footprint
Economic Feasibility study
New Design to Address Safety Concerns
$5 Mil for a New Community Center
3.5 Acres of land to develop
New Pedestrian Lighting in Fairmount
New Greenspace and Park
Changes in Traffic Patterns to Promote Pedestrian Safety

Urban League of Essex County


Closing Thoughts

Having Your Own Plan and Residents Driving the Plan gives your voice more credibility

Not just a community saying Not In my Back Yard

Accountability and Integrity Helped them to Believe they could Change their

Local Politics and Elections

Keeping your Coalition together

Municipalities with deficits and spending challenges

Deep Pockets and Long Reach

Knowing How to Fight and When to Stop Fighting

Advocacy vs. Influence

Dont wait for someone else to do it. No one is coming on a white horse.

Urban League of Essex County