In Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop’s State of the City address he announced a few new initiatives, while touting the accomplishments by his administration over the past year.
“I’m extremely grateful for each and every resident, every business owner, and community partner. Your perseverance and commitment to continued progress have never wavered,” he said in a video published on March 1. “Action ignites momentum, and we have kept our foot on the gas to accelerate our progress as a city, despite the many roadblocks thrown in our path.”
Fulop, who is currently in his third term as mayor, spoke from his office on a wide range of issues. He started off by talking on two new initiatives. The first is launching a participatory budgeting pilot program “to directly involve residents in the city spending decisions.”
“We want you – the residents – to tell us which community projects you want to see funded,” he said. “Our team will then convert the community driven ideas into concrete proposals with a defined scope, timeline and cost. We’re committed to making the municipal budgeting profit process more accessible and transparent for increased public engagement and community collaboration on meaningful infrastructure projects.”
He also announced a new year-long initiative this year titled the “Year of Open Space,” with the goal of re-imagining existing public spaces for a post-pandemic world and create “more innovative, non-traditional” public spaces throughout the city such as pocket parks, pedestrian malls, plaza and outdoor areas.
“I think we all can agree that this pandemic has opened our eyes to the importance of open space more so than ever before,” he said. “Around the state, it has underscored the critical need for parks and outdoor recreational spaces. Parks are no longer a luxury, but rather they become a necessity, especially in urban areas like Jersey City.”
Fulop said that investing in parks and open space is his personal priority “because the return on these investments is invaluable,” and that the initiative builds upon the open space element of the city’s Master Plan.
“Access to open space improves residents’ mental and physical health, it improves property values, it improves environmental impacts, increases community engagements, and other intangible benefits,” he said.
The mayor took the rest of the address to tout the city’s accomplishments alongside other heads from the administration, including taxes, current parks that were completed, developments in Journal Square and the new SciTech City project, health and the pandemic, public and pedestrian safety, the arts community and climate change.
“When I gave this speech in 2019, I could never have imagined the unprecedented obstacles that lie just ahead,” said Fulop. “While the past two years have been extremely difficult for all of us, I’m humbled by the way our community has come together to make Jersey City stronger than ever. We didn’t just survive, we thrived.”