Home is where the heart is, and there’s no better way to show your love for home than by working to improve the community that surrounds it. The Esperanza Neighborhood Project is a comprehensive neighborhood improvement and revitalization initiative focused on a 57-block area of New Brunswick. It is coordinated by New Brunswick Tomorrow in partnership with Puerto Rican Action Board (PRAB) and the City of New Brunswick. But most of all, it is guided by the residents and stakeholders of the neighborhood!
The issues that the Esperanza Project takes on are determined by residents themselves, including crime and safety, trash and clean-up, and transportation issues. More broadly, the Esperanza Project has four main components:
- Neighborhood Building: Empowering residents to create positive community change, through a neighborhood association, crime watch group, outreach, events and more.
- Economic Development: Bringing together local businesses in the French Street corridor to support their needs and help make neighborhood business areas into thriving commercial corridors.
- Community Services: Connecting residents to services and resources to meet their needs, especially through PRAB and the Family Leadership Academy, an intensive family support program.
- Housing: Creating more quality affordable housing options for families within our neighborhood, in partnership with Community Asset Preservation Corporation.
Since the beginning of the project in 2014, the active resident leaders and partners of the Esperanza Project have already accomplished the following:
- Formed a Crime Watch group in partnership with New Brunswick Police Department, to identify and solve crime and safety concerns
- Organized a large clean-up event with 150+ participants, and some have even stepped up as volunteer “block captains” to clean their streets; also successfully lobbied for more trash receptacles on French Street
- In a joint campaign with partner organizations Unity Square and New Labor, worked with County officials to make pedestrian safety improvements to Livingston Avenue, site of many previous accidents
- Organized two neighborhood family events, both with over 1,000 participants: a Cinco de Mayo festival and a back-to-school celebration with Roosevelt Elementary School
What else can we accomplish? That depends on you and your involvement! There’s always something to do in the Esperanza Project! The best first step is to attend one of our monthly meetings, either of the resident association or the Crime Watch group. Call Project Director Charles Bergman at 732-484-8511 to find out next times and locations. We also have other frequent events, like trash clean-ups, and opportunities to engage government officials on issues that matter to neighborhood residents. Whatever your community passion or concern, don’t hesitate to bring it to the Esperanza Project.