If you’ve spent time on Facebook in November, I’m sure many of your friends have been posting about what they are thankful for. While there are many things in my life that I am thankful for, I thought I’d spend a moment letting you know what I’m thankful for at the South Ward Special Improvement District.
Unlike other Wards in Newark, the South Ward is special. We are a ward with long-standing culture, where it’s hard to be a Weequahic Indian or a Shabazz Bulldog or a University Phoenix … WE LIVE IN OUR COMMUNITY. From the Clinton Hill section to the Historic Weequahic Section, we are the South Ward and we are a mixed community. Our culture is different, and our needs are different and because of that I am thankful for the opportunity to serve MY community because this is home to me.
I appeared as a guest on our South Ward Council’s inaugural talk show, ” Chronicles of James Show,” where we highlighted the new activities and development that has taken place over the past two years. There was plenty to talk about… especially when it came to the beautification and cleanliness of the corridor. The improvement has come not only from the SID but the community as well. I am thankful that my team has helped to improve the services we provide to our community as well as bring some new services. Each of these services has benefited our community by making people aware that we are paying attention to our community and working to make the South Ward THE WARD of choice in the City of Newark to live, work, play, shop, worship and access health care.
I’m also thankful that construction on Bergen Street, on our new Tucker View Apartments has begun—finally. This facility will be a model for new mixed-use housing on the corridor, and we are very excited about it. The site is slated to be five-stories and have thirty-two (32) units as well as space for shopping or a restaurant. But most importantly, it will be choice place for our residents.
Every day it is estimated that more than 5,000 people ride through our business corridors. Whether commuting through from Interstate 78 or entering from Hillside, Elizabeth or Newark, we need visible spaces that will attract, secure and retain new stakeholders, consumers and residents. The new apartments will feature seven 1 bedroom, 16 two-bedroom, and 9 three-bedroom apartments with a rooftop courtyard and so much more. The construction will take about 18-24 months, and we expect to move residents into the new facility in mid-2019.
And last, but certainly not least, I’m so grateful for the amazing generosity of this community, and our little community within the great South Ward. My employees, residents, business owners, pastors, community leaders, and municipal leaders and employees are some of the most generous people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Thanks to all of them, I never feel that our Ward is a place of crisis, it’s always a place of community. I’m honored to work beside such an outstanding group of people every day. Every day in their own way, they take ownership of a little place we all consider ‘home.”
Whether its Joanne Williams from the City of Newark’s Department of Code Enforcement giving guidance and helping to hold property owners accountable or Newark Police Captain Broner always providing resources to help increase safety and reduce crime; or the men and woman of Newark Fire Department Engine 29, Ladder 10 responding rapidly to emergency situations or the Salaam’s Ice Cream Parlor or Level One Bakery donating treats to children participating in programs at the Weequahic Success Center.
Or LISC using their resources to help neighbors in the Upper Clinton Hill Section or Mr. Younis of Kings on Clinton Avenue and the Senior Administration of Newark Beth Israel for allowing me to commandeer their space for business and community meetings, I am thankful. Or my amazing team of Board Members and Clean Team Ambassadors, that are always being available to engage stakeholders, I am truly thankful.
So, if you don’t hear it enough, please know that you are appreciated, and I GIVE THANKS not only for the time and energy you invest every day in our community, but the opportunity and privilege I have to serve you every day as the Executive Director of your South Ward Special Improvement District.
Ronice M. Bruce, Executive Director