Sitting in his office, surrounded by Halloween kitsch and posters of building designs, the mayor of Harrison talks like a man who has been selling an idea for a long time. After 15 years, his vision to transform this long-forsaken industrial town into a bedroom community for single, young professionals is finally taking shape.
The Times notes that even the successes in Harrison’s redevelopment have had problems, pointing to the $200 million Red Bull Arena — home of the New York Red Bulls, the major league soccer team. After the stadium opened in 2010, the town was mired in a tax dispute with the arena’s owners. Without the revenue stream, the town could not make bond payments on the $39 million it had borrowed to buy the land for the 2,500-seat arena. In 2011, Moody’s Investment Services downgraded Harrison’s credit rating to junk.
“The stadium has seriously endangered Harrison’s ability to maintain its governmental functions with the debt load that it’s now carrying,” NJPP president Gordon MacInnes tells the Times.
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