Ralph Ortega outlines many of the city’s development challenges with a preview of Mayor Booker’s State of the City speech last week: Mayor Cory Booker to focus on Newark economic development, empowerment.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s third state-of-the-city address tonight envisions a 24-hour downtown with 700 additional housing units in two high-rises and an added Seton Hall Law School dorm, the city’s first recreational boat dock in half a century, and the state’s first community court for low-level offenders.
Last year’s address touched on similar issues, including downtown development plans, which will be expanded upon in tonight’s address. But this year, there will be caveats because of the worsening economy. Newark’s unemployment rate has risen to 10 percent since Booker became mayor in 2006, and the city had the 35th-highest number of foreclosures out of 100 U.S. cities in 2008, according to RealtyTrac, a California firm tracking the market. Several hotel chains have already scrapped plans this year to build in the city.