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NEWARK-Work has started on the first phase of a three-year streetscape project aimed at remaking some 56 blocks of the city’s Downtown area. The first phase will focus on the corridor between Newark Penn Station and the new Prudential Center arena. As reported by GlobeSt.com, the arena is slated to open in October as the new home of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and as an entertainment venue.

The price tag for the streetscape project has been placed at $17.5 million. The money is coming from a partnership of the New Jersey EDA, which has approved the issuance of $10 million in bonds, and the Newark Downtown District, a self-improvement district made up of local businesses. Debt service on the bonds will be paid for by the NDD through a special assessment on Downtown commercial properties. The remainder of the funding is coming from commitments by the Newark Urban Enterprise Zone, the NDD, the City of Newark and PSE&G.

“We are particularly thrilled that we were able to finance this project through mostly private resources, and at minimal cost to the citizens of Newark,” says Mayor Cory Booker in a statement.”

“No significant, wide-scale streetscape project has taken place in downtown Newark in more than a generation,” says Anthony McMillan, executive director of NDD. “With the addition of Prudential Center and the improved public realm, there will be more reasons than ever for people to come to Newark.”

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