Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, January 16, 2017

With UEZ set to expire, resolution would designate entire Zone 'in need of rehabilitation'

The UEZ logo was designed to convey bot Plainfield's shopping
opportunities as well as its historic homes and leafy neighborhoods.

When Plainfield was designated one of the five original Urban Enterprise Zones (UEZ) in 1986, the hope was the program would help the city invest in its future through the diversion of half the sales tax to a fund to be invested in community-designed and -controlled projects in the Zone.

The other half of the sales tax was to be left uncollected, as a teaser to consumers to shop in the UEZ.

That was not the only benefit, but it was an important one.

Plainfield established a grant program for business facade upgrading and the look of downtown, South Avenue and other locations such as West Front Street near Clinton Avenue and East Second Street in the Netherwood Avenue section.

Over time, other cities were added to the program. But Gov. Christie has been adamantly opposed to its renewal ever since talk of doing so began a few year ago.

He refused to sign a law extending the "sunset" date for the original five communities, saying he would prefer a study instead of renewal.

As Mayor Mapp warned recently, Gov. Christie has until January 20 to go along with a compromise plan -- to extend the five towns (including Plainfield) and to appoint a commission to study making the program permanent.

I do not think he is likely to do so.

Tonight's Council agenda contains a resolution (R 059-17), which would declare the entire UEZ zone as "in need of rehabilitation", which may be seen as a defensive measure in the event that Christie does not extend the UEZ program.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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