Today, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr., attended and spoke at the grand opening of Baxter Park, a nearly $32 million, 90-unit mixed income rental property -- once a place to avoid, now a beacon of hope for the Broad Street Station District. Congressman Payne, Jr. praised the work of the Newark Housing Authority for its vision and the dedication of Keith Kinard, NHA Executive Director, in making Baxter Park a reality, saying that Baxter Park is a leap forward in providing more quality, affordable housing for the people of Newark.
"As a councilman, I remember the long hours we put in for the redevelopment of the Broad Street Station District," said Rep. Payne, Jr. "Once a place to avoid and a place few would choose to live, Baxter Park will play an integral role in transforming this community. With Broad Street Station, an ice skating rink, playgrounds, basketball courts, and a boat house nearby, Baxter Park will not only serve as the catalyst that revitalizes the local economy and attracts more business, but also reinvigorates its people and provides a sense of hope. That is something truly special to look forward to."
Baxter Park is trailblazing the way for "green" city living in an effort to preserve our environment and address climate change. The building includes energy efficient construction and appliances, the usage of recycled materials, water saving fixtures, strategically placed solar voltaic panels that will generate electricity, and on-site storm water management. "Baxter Park and Newark will undoubtedly serve as a model for cities and municipalities all across the nation looking to use "green" materials to create housing that conserves our natural resources, lowers the cost of energy, and helps protect our environment," Rep. Payne, Jr. said.
Rep. Payne, Jr. also stressed the positive effects that quality, affordable housing has on the mental and emotional states of individuals and their families. "I am uplifted knowing that with Baxter Park's opening, ninety more of our elderly, our disabled, and our families will have a place to call home. Because a home isn't just a place you lay your head. A home instills confidence, motivation, and dignity. A home provides children with a sense of stability. Children perform better in school when they have a home to return to after school. Workers are more productive when they have a decent place to live. So I am very happy knowing that Baxter Park will instill a sense of pride and confidence to the people who will call it home."
Baxter Park was named after the great James Baxter who at age 19 served as principal of Newark's African-American schools during the Civil War, and served as an educator until his death in 1909. Baxter Park houses two buildings that include 90 family units, which will consist of 48 public housing, 24 Section 8 Voucher, and 18 low income rental units along with 3,000 square feet of first floor retail space. Total development costs amount to nearly $32 million with $11.2 million in funding coming from CRFC, $4.3 million from NHA Capital, $2.35 million from NJHMFA, and $1.34 million in FHLB AHA loans.
NHA Executive Director Keith Kinard, NHA Chair Modia Butler, Newark Preschool Council, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Newark Councilman Darrin Sharif, NJHMFA Executive Director Anthony L. Marchetta, HUD Newark Field Office Field Director Diane Johnson, and Ava Goldman of the Michaels Organization were also in attendance. Reverand Joe Carter of New Hope Baptist Church gave the Invocation.