PATERSON, N.J. (PIX11) — A public library that was once filled with stories is set to become a comeback story.
“[We knew] if we had an opportunity, we would bring back this building that has been fallow for far too long,” said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.
One nonprofit is about to give the Northside Library branch a chance to begin a new chapter.
“I have confidence that this will be a beacon of hope in a dark place,” said Akbar McEntyre, founder and CEO of Humble Beginnings, Inc.
The nonprofit announced it has acquired the building from the city with plans to redevelop it into a community resource center to help combat mental health problems, substance abuse and many other critical services this neighborhood has been missing. It’s a vision laid out by McEntyre.
“I’m a product of a second chance,” said McEntyre. “A second chance was afforded to me. I knew this community was due a second chance.”
The building was decimated by Hurricane Irene in 2011. City leaders say it’s been a crime magnet, with signs of squatting inside its dilapidated walls. But in the pages of its new story are charity, education and most of all, hope.
“It’s more like a selfless investment I know is very much needed for this neighborhood,” said McEntyre.
Officials say they hope to get the ball rolling on the redevelopment in the spring, and they say if they have their way, they will be back next Thanksgiving Eve for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.