South Ward SID Keeps Year-Round Focus on Community

Economic development, streetscape improvements and quality of life programs all part of BLCSID mission.

The holiday season is the time of year when many people focus on charitable giving and activities that benefit their communities. For the professional staff and volunteer board members of the Bergen-Lyons-Clinton Special Improvement District (BLCSID), the needs of the local community are a priority throughout the year.

“From workshops that support local small business owners and entrepreneurs, to plans for the redevelopment of the Bergen Street corridor, to programs focused on community wellness at Beth Israel Medical Center, the economic health and quality of life of the people who live, learn, work, invest and worship in the South Ward is always our focus,” noted Phillip Gilmore, BLCSID President and Pastor of St. John’s Baptist Church on Bergen Street.

Known locally as the South Ward SID, the BLCSID, which covers Bergen Street between Lyons and Clinton Avenues and both of those streets to the Irvington border, was established to help the area compete, improve and sustain commercial viability.  A public/private partnership between the City of Newark, local business and commercial property owners and residents focused on generating economic activity and community development, the SID moved forward in 2016 with an aggressive streetscape maintenance program, a proactive communications program and a series of special events that are contributing to revitalization efforts in the South Ward.

Over the summer months, the BLCSID hosted dozens of local entrepreneurs and small business owners participating in free Business Fairs seeking knowledge and access to supportive programs and financing options. The events were presented by the City of Newark’s Department of Economic & Housing Development, the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (NCEDC) and the BLCSID.

Event participants interacted with representatives of the Small Business Administration (SBA), Rising Tide Capital, City National Bank, Greater Newark Enterprises Corporation and the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership who provided valuable information and access to resources to help small businesses succeed and grow.

This fall, the South Ward SID again hosted residents, business and property owners and other South Ward stakeholders participating in the planning process to improve the Bergen Street Corridor between Weequahic Avenue on the southern end and Madison Avenue at the northern end.

The City of Newark, Department of Economic and Housing Development, in cooperation with the NCEDC and the BLCSID welcomed a full-house of South Ward stakeholders to an interactive presentation that invited participants to share their ideas and reactions to schematic drawings that showed possible building configurations, facades, elevations and more. A follow up presentation showcased how the input and ideas of the community were incorporated into the redevelopment plans.

On December 1st, the BLCSID once again partnered with the City of Newark, Department of Economic and Housing Development and the NCEDC to host an information session on how local entrepreneurs can use technology to expedite the registration process by completing business license applications online.

“Whether it’s a coat drive at Pastor Gilmore’s Church to benefit South Ward residents in need this holiday season, to e-waste collection events at Weequahic Park that contribute to a healthier and cleaner environment for our stakeholders, we are committed to proactive and positive efforts,” concluded BLCSID Executive Director Ronice Bruce, “that contribute to the South Ward’s rise as the ward of choice in Newark for people seeking new opportunities for their businesses and their families.”

For more information about programs, services and opportunities to support and contribute to the initiatives of the South Ward SID, email southwardsid@gmail.com. You can also follow news from the South Ward SID at southwardsid.com and through social media at Facebook.com/SouthWardSID.

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