A curious press release from the city of Newark:
Newark, NJ – Mayor Ras J. Baraka, the Newark Municipal Council, and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Baye Adofo-Wilson announced today that the City of Newark will sell municipally-owned vacant lots city-wide for $1,000 each to couples seeking to construct homes on them, in a “Valentine’s Land Sale Day.” The sale will take place at Newark City Hall on Saturday, February 14 from 9 a.m. through 12 p.m.
WHAT: Newark Valentine’s Day Land Sale, in which municipally-owned vacant lots will be sold to couples—straight or LGBT—for $1,000 each as part of the City’s “Live Newark” program.
As part of the City’s “Live Newark” program, the lots will be sold for $1,000 each, with buyers required to make a $500 down payment and pay the additional $500 at closing. They are responsible for all closing costs, and must submit a City Planning Board approved site plan to close on the property, have a commitment letter from a financial institution and/or proof of cash to cover the cost of the infill new construction to close on the property, and complete that construction within 18 months of closing.
The lots are available for purchase for any couple, straight or LGBT, from anywhere. The couple must live in the property for five years after issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy. All sales must be approved by the Municipal Council.
I’m not aware of same-sex couples having been denied the right to buy property in Newark, so this seems like an odd way to promote urban redevelopment. Is there a backstory here that I’m missing?