EDITORIAL: UEZ vital to Kearny’s overall economic well-being

Several weeks ago, we ran a story about the possibility that an Urban Enterprise Zone program to keep Kearny’s streets clean could come to an end.

It is also possible a police walking patrol — funded by the local UEZ — could also come to a close because there simply isn’t money to pay for the program anymore.

When UEZs began several decades ago, they had so much promise.

Shoppers paid half the sales tax theyíd normally pay elsewhere. 

The taxes collected went back to individual municipalities.

Everyone won.

Kearny was no exception to the rule. 

But under the previous governor, funding for UEZs went away and were practically forgotten about. 

It was hard to even notice that they existed anymore.

But there was hope. 

During the campaign last year, we were led to believe when he took office, Gov. Phil Murphy would give more attention — and money — to UEZs.

The governor did re-up several UEZs that were set to expire. And that’s good.

But that’s been all.

Here in Kearny, the UEZ has done some great things for local businesses.

In the summer months, the Farmer’s Market brings people together in the Kearny Avenue shopping district on the south end of town.

Not only do residents get a chance to buy fresh produce, the market naturally allows buyers to do even more shopping, whether it’s for a meal at many of the restaurants — or whether itís at stores that might not otherwise get the organic foot traffic.

Each spring, the zone sponsors a townwide garage sale — and often, out-of-town residents come here looking for bargains — and then similarly shop at stores and restaurants on Kearny Avenue and elsewhere in town.

We could go on forever here. 

But the bottom line is this town — and others with UEZs — need them.

It is our hope our representatives in Trenton do everything within their power to ensure UEZs get what they need to survive — and succeed.

Nothing less will do.

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.