NEWARK, NJ – A proposed nine mile greenway path winding through Hudson and Essex counties received critical support from Newark executives this week as the project enters the earliest stages of planning and surveying.

The support included recommendations from local businesses and civic organizations about the positive business / economic impact and job creation potential that the Greenway route would bring to Northern New Jersey.

“Communities that are directly involved in greenway development are finding that such activities help employers in the area attract talent, improve recruitment and retain valuable employees,” said Chris Bernardo, President and CEO of Commercial District Services are finding positive economic effects and significant business development as a result of increasing tourism, improved connectivity and stronger inner city. “

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Commercial District Services provides management support for the Mt. Prospect Avenue Special Improvement District in the North Ward, an area where bike paths and infrastructure have been a priority in recent years.

“In and around these multipurpose walkways, local small businesses can flourish, create a more attractive environment for employers, increase other tax revenues, and lead to a general revitalization of the neighborhood,” said Bernardo.

The proposed Essex-Hudson Greenway would create a nearly nine mile linear park connecting Montclair, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Belleville, Newark, Kearny, Secaucus, and Jersey City. In July 2020, the Open Space Institute signed a preliminary purchase and sale agreement with the Norfolk Southern Railway Company for real estate in Essex and Hudson counties for the purpose of the greenway.

Once built, officials said the project had the potential to benefit the communities it connects, such as Newark.

A 2017 report by the Outdoor Industry Association found that outdoor recreation, including greenways, generates $ 887 billion annually, creates 7.6 million American jobs, and $ 65.3 billion in federal tax revenue and $ 59.2 billion in state and local revenue to make communities healthier and safer.

A similar 2011 study by Greenways, Inc. also found that the average annual economic impact of trail development can be calculated at around $ 100,000 per mile and often more. The study cites the economic benefits of multiple trails between $ 73,500 and $ 137,500 per mile.

The Open Space Institute and its partners have already started investing in the project in planning, surveying, environmental impact assessment and more. The preliminary work itself already supports jobs related to design and acquisition work and is expected to result in hundreds more construction work, including engineering and construction work.

“As our society emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and our overall economy recovers, members of our community may be looking for new or alternative employment opportunities,” said Felix Lopez Montalvo, past president of Mt. Prospect Avenue Special Improvement District. “In addition to the jobs created by the early planning of the greenway, we look forward to the influx of jobs and businesses during construction.”

In terms of job creation, a U.S. fish and wildlife survey found that a project like the Essex-Hudson Greenway will create more jobs than a similar infrastructure project like new highways.

A 2019 study by the East Coast Greenway Alliance reported a similar economic multiplier effect after a 2012 study found that for every $ 1 million investment in greenways, bike paths, and sidewalks, 17 jobs were created – nearly 50 % more additional jobs than with other means of transport. Similar projects.

“I’m excited to see how the Essex-Hudson Greenway could complement efforts to strengthen the Mount Prospect neighborhood and the city of Newark,” said Michelle Lolo, CEO of Hope & Esperanza Community Health Center. “The growing investment in medical and health-related businesses in this community will not only create opportunities for job expansion and business support in the area, but, like the proposed linear park, will also promote healthier lifestyles for our residents.”