Water Equity Clearinghouse

Ironbound Community Corporation

Newark, NJ

Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) is an organization that strives to empower individuals to work together and create just, vibrant, and sustainable communities. ICC targets unmet needs and service gaps for underserved families in the multiethnic, working-class Ironbound neighborhood adjacent to Newark’s waterfront. The organization also ensures that all their programs are designed and delivered in a culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate manner.

Among their many services, ICC provides child care, youth programming, family support, and senior services to the community. They also advocate for residents’ rights to a healthy, clean environment free from industrial pollution and with plenty of recreational opportunities.

Efforts to Advance Water Equity

ICC is concerned about the impacts of climate change on the Ironbound neighborhood, and the organization is at the forefront of a movement to make the area more resilient to flooding, air pollution and extreme weather events. In conjunction with Clean Water Action and the NJ Environmental Justice Alliance, ICC is creating a Resiliency Action Plan (RAP). This plan is an effort to reduce greenhouse gases, adapt to changes that are already occurring, and foster social inclusion and support. The partnership reaches out to community leaders, residents, and municipal authorities to ensure an inclusive and effective resiliency plan.

Some of the proposed solutions include the creation of rain and roof gardens to mitigate flooding, utilization of permeable pavement, and the establishment of onsite wastewater treatment, rainwater harvesting, and safe reuse. The projects will engage local businesses and create green jobs capable of supporting families in the community.

As Ironbound is adjacent to Newark’s waterfront, ICC works to minimize pollution from freighters, and ensure economic benefits for affected communities. The Coalition for Healthy Ports, a group ICC takes part in, seeks to influence the expansion of the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey and bring about these desired changes.

Another example of ICC’s commitment to this work is the Take Back the Ports campaign, which galvanizes local leaders and grassroots activists to address the adverse environmental-health impacts of diesel pollution on residents living near ports in New Jersey and New York.

ICC also works to include, inform, and empower residents to restore their own riverfronts for recreational purposes. The Ironbound community is host to a Superfund site, contaminated by Dioxin, along the Passaic River. Residents fought to make sure the site was capped and remediated, and are now working to create a community-wide vision on how to best restore the river for community use. ICC was also instrumental in organizing residents to preserve Riverbank Park. Today, these efforts are being channeled into the creation of a green belt along Ironbound’s riverbank.