Celebrating 10 years (?!) covering redevelopment

It’s funny to look at back at the posts on this site in its early years. It was the same year that the original iPhone debuted and The Sopranos ended — hard to believe! It was even before construction of Park Square or Carriage City Plaza were completed and Hamilton Laundry was still standing.

To mark RahwayRising.com’s 10th anniversary (which traditionally is tin or aluminum for wedding anniversaries), I’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo with a goal raise $1,000. Funds will be used to sustain the site, namely technical expenses like web hosting, domain registration and state LLC fees, and other costs associated with running the site.

What started out as a hobby and journalism experiment that I’d spend my nights and weekends on (and still do) has become the primary source of information about local redevelopment efforts. I’ve always had an appreciation for local news, going back to my years as a local newspaper editor, and have always been amazed by how many decisions are made that impact residents. Over the years, the blog has been a hybrid of sorts, part community service and personal journalism laboratory.

There have been so many posts over the years. To be precise, this is the 1,073rd since the site launched on Nov. 2, 2007. exact. It’s been rare that a week has gone by without something posted, at least a fun poll question or quick blurb. Much of the content is sourced from attending various municipal meetings, ranging from Redevelopment Agency and City Council to Zoning or Planning boards, among others.

When I’m not writing about resolutions, ordinances or applications from those meetings, I’ve tried to present other interesting posts, like the finances of the Union County Performing Arts Center, tax appeals and their impact on the city and its assessed values, as well as the impact and details of development-related Payments In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOTs).

Most recently, I’m proud to be the only place where you can track development — whether completed, planned or proposed — with specifics on each project over the years in this redevelopment map just released this week. Keep an eye out for updates on that early version.

And other sites may have written about the challenge to Rahway denying body camera footage of the police response to the mayor’s two car crashes but RahwayRising.com was the only one to actually challenge the city in court and cover the result of the judge’s decision, leading to the release of the views. While you can argue that’s not related to redevelopment, it is relevant to government transparency.

RahwayRising.com is about the only place where you can find a breakdown of the annual Special Improvement District budget as well as coverage of the ongoing SID lawsuit and appeal.

The site provides advertising to local businesses and I’m grateful for the long-time support of Lehrer-Gibilisco Funeral Home, Pettit-Davis Funeral Home, Realtor Audra Loccisano, R. Service Maintenance, and Rahway Fried Chicken. The crowdfunding campaign is another avenue for folks to support the site, which doesn’t require a subscription or fees. I was humbled and grateful for the support received in last year’s experiment, which raised more than $500, and thought I’d aim higher for the 10th anniversary.

Rahway Rising stickerSupporters who contribute at least $10 will get an artisanal and 100% locally sourced RahwayRising.com sticker — designed by CDH Design and produced by Mr. B Printing — #ShopLocal!.

Please check out the 10th anniversary crowdfunding campaign. Contribute if you’d like, and if not, that’s cool too. The site has always been free to read and will remain so. As always, thanks for reading!