NEWARK, NJ — Newark has been in the headlines for dozens of multi-million-dollar development projects, many of them set in the city's changing downtown, but to Newark native and developer Siree Morris, the neighborhoods are just as important.
"I want to inspire others like myself in the community to do this as well," Morris said.
He purchased a couple of vacant lots from the city with a 5-year tax abatement to develop six units of affordable housing.
"I grew up in Section 8 housing," he said. "So I’m not going to leave that, because I know there is a need for that."
The groundbreaking for his newest project on Avon Avenue was Tuesday. Mayor Ras Baraka, who also wants to see the city's vacant lots returned to residents who can develop them into new, quality housing, was in attendance.
"There is a lot of talk about Newarkers being driven out," Baraka said. "This an example of Newarkers pulling themselves up by their bootstraps."
Morris is a civil engineer and a Rutgers graduate. He’s renovated a number of properties across the city, with a focus on the outer wards.
"The neighborhoods are just as important, if not more, because this is where the community, the people who have been here, have held this city up for the time we are in now," he said.
Morris expects this project to be done by July.