“Newark’s River” Plan & Riverfront Park win 2014 Smart Growth Award

For Immediate Release


Award honors the community’s work in transforming its waterfront into an urban asset

 Newark, NJ –Mayor Luis A. Quintana, the Newark Municipal Council, Acting Deputy Mayor of Economic and Housing Development Dan Jennings, Planning Director Damon Rich, Newark Riverfront Revival, Essex County, Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC), and The Trust for Public Land announced today that New Jersey Future has selected Newark’s River: Redevelopment & Public Access Plan and Newark Riverfront Park as one of its 2014 Smart Growth Award-Winners. The project aims to connect Newarkers to their river.

The City of Newark was one of eightcommunities to receive the coveted award. The construction of Newark & Essex County Riverfront Park and the adoption of the Newark’s River: Redevelopment & Public Access Plan were both recognized for demonstrating and advancing smart growth principles. These achievements, the culmination of 20 years of advocacy and planning, grew from sustained partnerships between public and private stakeholders. These partners came together to connect Newark with its river, to grow the city and its neighborhoods to the water’s edge, and to bring the life of the city to the amazing natural attraction at the heart of the region’s most populated place.

“We are honored that our longstanding efforts to re-connect our residents with our historic Passaic River and to improve the environment and quality of life there are being recognized by New Jersey Future,” said Mayor Quintana. “I commend everyone involved with this important project on gaining well-deserved statewide recognition.”

On August 3, 2013, Newark’s second segment of riverfront park opened to the public, featuring a bright orange boardwalk fabricated of recycled plastic lumber. Bringing Newark’s riverfront park area to a total of 15 acres, this opening occurred 20 years after the lower 17 miles of the adjacent Passaic River were declared a Superfund site. As accompaniment to the development and adoption of the Newark’s River: Redevelopment & Public Access Plan a few days later,these parks gave material evidence of Newark’s riverfront revival and also demonstrated strong application of smart growth principles.

The announcement of the award comes just in time for the launch of the 2014 Newark Riverfront program calendar next month. Organized programs include free and low-cost activities like concerts, boat tours, kayaking,  environmental workshops, movie nights, public art, youth day camp, and public exercise that are set to draw Newarkers and visitors to the City’s riverfront. Learn more at www.newarksriver.wordpress.com.

“Newarkers have long known that growing our neighborhoods and downtown to the river is smart growth and sustainable development in action, and it is heartening and rewarding that others in our region and beyond recognize the same,” said Damon Rich, the City’s Planning Director and Chief Urban Designer and the principal author of Newark’s River: Redevelopment & Public Access Plan. “The Newark Planning Office and Newark Riverfront Revival aim to connect every Newarker to their river, so please join us this summer for a boat tour, a gospel festival, or a Zumba class, and join the movement back to the water.”

New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that brings together concerned citizens and leaders to promote responsible land-use policies. The organization employs original research, analysis and advocacy to build coalitions and drive land-use policies that help revitalize cities and towns, protect natural lands and farms, provide more transportation choices beyond cars, expand access to safe and affordable neighborhoods and fuel a prosperous economy.

Newark Riverfront Revival (NRR) aims to revive Newark’s riverfront to bring concrete benefits to the City of Newark and its residents. Since 2008, NRR has built support for Newark’s riverfront by taking hundreds of people on boat and walking tours, hosting dozens of outreach events, organizing design education programs for youth, and staging a City Hall exhibition. Since 2012, NRR has worked with Essex County, the City of Newark, The Trust for Public Land, Ironbound Community Corporation, and other partners to build and program over 15 acres of riverfront parks, including a walking and biking trail, sports fields and courts, floating boat dock, riverfront boardwalk, playground and other settings for relaxation, picnics, exercise, and environmental education.


2014 Riverfront Sneak Preview: 3/20/14

Last year, Newark continued its proud return to the river with the opening of the Orange Boardwalk as part of Riverfront Park Segment 2. Working since 2008 with many committed partners, Newark Riverfront Revival works to bring every Newarker to visit their river. We organize free and low-cost activities like concertstoursenvironmental workshopsmoviespublic artpublic exercise and sports to draw Newarkers and visitors from across the City.


With the support of major new funders like the National Endowment for the Arts, it appears that 2014 could be Newark’s most memorable summer on the river!  You are invited to a 2014 Newark Riverfront Sneak Preview on Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 6 pm. In the historic atrium of City Hall, hear from Newark Riverfront Revival staff and partners about what’s in store down by the river.

This summer, we want every Newarker to visit their river. We need your help to accomplish our goal: how do we get every Newarker down to the water? How do we get the word out? How can we make it an easy choice for people living and working in the five wards and nearby?

Thurs, March 20, 2014
6 pm
Newark City Hall (Green St Entrance)
First Floor Rotunda
920 Broad Street, Newark, NJ 07102
Refreshments will be served!

Download flyer here.

Newark’s Riverfront in Urban Omnibus


“Last summer, the second segment of Newark’s Riverfront Park opened to the public. Transforming deindustrialized, often polluted waterfronts into public space is a common strategy in contemporary urban revitalization, worldwide. But rarely has this tactic reflected such a long history of community-based activism for environmental justice and public access to the river.”

Walking to the Water: Environmental Justice and Newark’s Riverfront Park, Urban Omnibus, 1/29/14

2013 Newark Boat Tour Report

June through October 2013, Newark Riverfront Revival offered 42 Newark Boat Tours, bringing over 400 visitors to see the Passaic River for themselves and learn about how they can join the movement to connect Newark to its source. In August, for the first time, Newark Boat Tours began launching from the new public boat dock in Newark Riverfront Park, connected to the Orange Boardwalk. Also this year, in observation of Labor Day, we led our first special tour of Port Newark.2013 Newark Boat Tours 12013 Newark Boat Tours 42013 Newark Boat Tours 62013 Newark Boat Tours 7

Friends of Riverfront Park complete second year

In 2013, the Friends of Riverfront Park continued to hold monthly meetings at the Riverbank Park Field House and provide a forum for everyone with an interest in the park to bring their ideas, proposals, concerns, and energy. The Friends are dedicated to developing programs to fill Newark’s riverfront with positive activity, ensuring public safety, and making sure that everyone in Newark has a reason to come check out the city’s newest riverfront parks. This year, the Friends played a key role on issues including park stewardship, fundraising, building a diverse constituency, and planning and staffing riverfront events. Friends were especially important to planning and running Newark’s second annual River Celebration. Please join us in 2014!

Riverfront September Concert Series Recap

On September 13, 20, and 27, Newark Riverfront Revival organized a concert series featuring R&B, gospel, and house. The September 13 jazz R&B show featured the Newark-based Melectrix band. The September 20 featured the Symphony Hall Special Ensemble. The final September 27 concert introduced DJ Omar Abdullah a lifetime West Ward resident to the riverfront.

DJ Omar Abdallah spins house for a loving crowd:



Passionate music fans brave the chill for the sounds of the Melectrix:Jazz Night 1

The Symphony Hall Special Ensemble belts it out:SE 5