(JERSEY CITY, SEPTEMBER 5) - Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler took his campaign to familiar territory on Wednesday. Schundler toured the streets of Jersey City Wednesday to highlight the dramatic turn-around the city experienced during his terms as Mayor.
“This campaign is about choosing a candidate with a record of successful executive leadership,” Schundler said. “When I was elected Mayor of Jersey City in 1992, property taxes were soaring, crime was spiraling upwards, and businesses were fleeing from the city. Through hard work and difficult decision-making, we turned this city around. Jim McGreevey and his supporters don’t want you to see the progress we’ve made here. They want to distract you from these accomplishments.”
“Today, property taxes are lower than they were ten years ago, businesses are relocating to the city, we are experiencing an unprecedented building boom, violent crime is down dramatically and the city’s spirits are lifting higher each day,” Schundler said. “I want to apply the same skills we utilized in revitalizing Jersey City to make a positive difference for all the people of New Jersey.”
The tour kicked off Wednesday morning at the Loews Theater in Journal Square where Schundler joined Brian Coleman, Executive Director of the Jersey City Restoration Corporation, to talk about the redevelopment of this historic section of the city.
The tour moved to the site of the Bergenview affordable housing project where the former director of the city’s Department of Housing, Economic Development & Commerce, Annemarie Uebbing, discussed the successful effort to convert an abandoned YMCA site into an affordable housing complex.
After meeting with the project manager of the Ready, Willing and Able welfare to work program, the tour moved to Martin Luther King Drive. This area was the most crime ridden, run-down section of the city. Under the Schundler administration, it began a revitalization which included the completion of the MLK Hub project that brought a new shopping center to the neighborhood.
The MLK Drive shopping center, which has direct access to the new Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system, now employs 200 local residents. The project brought Jersey City acclaim through national and state planning awards for community participation in the urban planning process.
The tour also stopped at the Newark Avenue shopping district where a major façade restoration program has successfully restored more than 100 storefronts and at the Lafayette Gardens affordable housing development -- a 135 unit mixed-income housing development.
Those attending the tour were then taken to the Golden Door Charter School, founded by Mayor Schundler. The Golden Door Charter School was built at one-third the cost of comparable public school facilities. According to recent news reports, it enjoys huge success in producing dramatic academic improvement among the students enrolled in the program.
The Jersey City Success Tour ended at the most dramatic turnaround area of the city, along the Jersey City waterfront where Schundler and Uebbing discussed the massive development boom along the Hudson River and the steady stream of major financial companies moving their headquarters into Jersey City.
The waterfront development and new office complexes included 985 new hotel rooms and 3,000 new residential units. The waterfront success contributed to a dramatic drop in the city’s unemployment rate in addition to generating $30 million of additional tax revenue for the city.
As a result of the economic development policies of the Schundler administration, construction is now planned or underway on more than 6 million square feet of Class A office space. Jersey City is expected to attract 75,000 new jobs by the end of the decade.
“The people of New Jersey have a choice in this election,” Schundler said. “They can vote for a candidate who has actually lowered taxes, created new jobs, cut crime rates, and turned around a city, or they can vote for Jim McGreevey who has made a career of serving the special interests. I think the choice is clear.”