Thursday, July 4, 2013

Elmwood Gardens

Elmwood Gardens is an important project on the west side of Plainfield, actually just west of downtown, between West Front St and the train tracks.  It is also an indicator of what Plainfield can be and how its potential to overcome its problems can be realized.

This apartment complex, operated by the Plainfield Housing Authority, has been a crime hot spot for many years.  Its design is not conducive to residents safety.  To access your apartment, you have to pass through a main entrance and walk down a hall to your unit.  Cities across the country have been demolishing these types of apartments and replacing them with townhouse style living units, usually with a lower population density.  We can see that this has happened in Newark and Elizabeth, notably in Elizabethport where revitalization began when Miglori Manor and Pioneer Homes were knocked down.  These were designed much like Elmwood Gardens and were dangerous places to live and visit. 

                          view of the three Elmwood apartment buildings

 Some of us have been asking why Plainfield was not following the trend and finally we are hearing that progress will begin soon.  I contend that this project is as or more important than the redevelopment projects slated for downtown.  New projects add to our city in many ways but the new Elmwood Gardens also will remove conditions that drag down its residents, its neighborhood and the whole city. 

                      from a community focus group on the new Elmwood design

The new Elmwood Gardens will be a credit to the Housing Authority and its partners including city government.  It brings hope for more revitalization and momentum for private investors to join with the limited resources of government to bring Plainfield into the "major leagues"  where it once was and always belongs.

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