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September 26, 2018

NJTV Explores Impact of Gentrification in Long Branch Community Forum

NJTV hosted a public community forum on the topic of gentrification on Thursday, September 20 at Brookdale Community College in Long Branch as part of its In Your Neighborhood initiative.

NJTV News Correspondent Briana Vannozzi hosted a panel discussion with local officials, housing experts, and social services organizations on how neighborhoods are transformed in favor of economic growth; the impact that gentrification can have on residents’ quality of life; policies that can help people adapt to redevelopment and more.

Panelists who contributed to the discussion were Mayor John Pallone, City of Long Branch; Councilman Bill Dangler, City of Long Branch; David Troutt, Founding director, Rutgers Center on Law in Metropolitan Equity (CLiME); Alicia F. Williams, Esq., Managing Attorney, South Jersey Legal Services and Richard Cammarieri, Special Projects Director, New Community Corporation.

The program kicked off with a discussion about what gentrification is and how its connotation is often negative. Troutt explained the alignment between gentrification and integration and Cammarieri cited examples of how gentrification programs have worked in places like Newark. Williams stressed how the gentrification process in places like Asbury Park make seniors one of the most vulnerable groups. Mayor Pallone stated that gentrification “is not necessarily a bad word, but you need to assure residents are not displaced and part of the (city’s growth) process.” Long Branch Councilman Bill Dangler added that in his town, where the oceanfront has seen great development over the last several years, “you have to start focusing on other parts of town” with improvement projects.

There were members of the audience that expressed concerns about their neighborhood and apartment building succumbing to gentrification. One Long Branch resident said “I want to be able to sleep at night” with assurance his building, which is in close proximity to the beach, won’t be sold out from under him.

The forum was well-received, with members of the audience thanking NJTV for hosting such a discussion and adding comments like, “very informed panel and host. It is a timely concern for many of us who are living in heavily developing towns.”

Long Branch Councilwoman Dr. Anita Voogt, after the event concluded, wrote a note stating, “the panelists were all very knowledgeable and helpful, particularly to those of us in municipal leadership roles dealing with these issues.”

NJTV has been showcasing some of the Garden State’s most dynamic places with its In Your Neighborhood initiative by combining news, special programming and community engagement events. Previous community forums have discussed jobs in Camden, poverty in Trenton, economic disparity in Asbury Park, housing in New Brunswick and infrastructure in Montclair.

Close to 70 individuals attended the forum and the livestream has been viewed more than 200 times online. ICYMI, click here to watch.

Top image, from left to right: NJTV News’ Briana Vannozzi along with panelists Mayor John Pallone, David Troutt, Alicia F. Williams, Esq., Councilman Bill Dangler, and Richard Cammarieri

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