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PRESS RELEASE: City of Garfield and GBCA Award First River to Rail Business Rehabilitation Grant

The Garfield River to Rail Neighborhood District and the City of Garfield, in partnership with Greater Bergen Community Action, are excited to announce the approval of the first River to Rail Business Rehabilitation grant award for a façade overhaul at 59 Passaic Street, Garfield, New Jersey, where building owner Gary Zalarick is launching a new rolled ice cream bar.

The Commercial Rehabilitation Enhancement Grant Program is designed to help building and business owners in the district fund projects that significantly improve the visual appearance of the property from the street, in order to attract more foot traffic to the area and help create a vibrant downtown business district.

Building and business owners are eligible for four categories of grant funding:

· Commercial/Mixed Use Rehabilitation Grant – offers $1,000 to $5,000 per property for storefront and façade improvements.

· Commercial/Mixed Use Materials Grant – offers $1,000 per property for materials used for less complicated storefront improvements (i.e., paint, primer, brushes, new doors, windows, lights, signage).

· Commercial/Mixed Use Visual Merchandising Grant – offers $1,000 per property for

materials to enhance the exterior visual merchandising of business storefronts (seasonal displays, enhanced lighting, transparent glass, signage, art elements).

· Commercial/Mixed Use ADA Access Grant – offers $1,000 per property for costs associated with removing barriers and upgrading storefronts to become Americans with Disabilities Act compliant (i.e. entrance step, installing ramp, widening door width).

Grant awardee Gary Zalarick says “The existing storefront is antiquated; I plan on restoring the storefront to look unique, but very clean and historic. I plan on bringing life back to Passaic Street.”

This grant program is not the first initiative set forth by the Garfield River to Rail District. Earlier they unveiled a 110-foot interactive mural painted by world-renowned street artist, Kelsey Montague, in the heart of the district at the Garfield Train Stop, on the corner of Midland Avenue and Passaic Street. Funded by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Neighborhood Preservation Program, the mural celebrates the history of Garfield, New Jersey, as it incorporates five city-centric elements into the vibrant artwork and breathes new life into the area. The back of the train provides for the perfect photo op, with a step and handle where you can pose to make it look like you are boarding the train.

“On behalf of the City of Garfield, we would like to thank Greater Bergen Community Action for helping to secure the NPP grant, which has enabled us to commission a great artist, Kelsey Montague. We thank Kelsey for creating the colorful Garfield locomotive mural at our downtown Passaic Street train stop. Kelsey’s piece has already added a vibrant and unique aspect for our vision on the redevelopment and revitalization of Passaic Street. The mural is Instagram-worthy and a must-see,” said Garfield Mayor Richard Rigoglioso.

GBCA CEO Robert Halsch added, “Just as Kelsey’s creativity has transformed the Passaic Street train stop, so too does the Neighborhood Preservation Program help to transform entire neighborhoods. These grants will help business owners beautify their store front making the corridor more attractive for visitors. Next up is 105 units of approved transit oriented housing, and much more. The Neighborhood Preservation Program makes a small investment go a long way.”

To apply for Garfield’s River to Rail Business District’s Commercial Rehabilitation Enhancement Grant Program and for more information, visit


Greater Bergen Community Action Inc. (GBCA) is a progressive not-for-profit company working throughout New Jersey to build more sustainable families, community institutions, and neighborhoods. It does this through strategic investments in community and household finance, education, healthcare, housing, workforce development, energy, and neighborhood revitalization.

As the creator of the Garfield 1st Ward Revitalization Plan, it is GBCA’s unique blend of sensibility and investment in the community, coupled with a proven track record, that has resulted in GBCA being designated Master Redeveloper by the City of Garfield.


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