Coalition initiative aims to focus public and government attention on their problems
They are described as the "first suburbs," towns that sprang up along the borders of New Jersey's cities in the past century and a half.
They include Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Montclair, West Orange, East Orange, Maplewood, Rahway, Franklin, Parsippany and over 90 others. Half of the state's population lives in these towns or in the neighboring cities.
Most are fully developed and tax-stressed. Their school systems are financially strained, their housing, roads and sewers are aging, their business districts fading and their population is becoming increasingly diverse racially and economically.
What they do not have, in the view of people who want to see these towns prosper, is one voice. A voice that can shout for the attention of the state and federal government and business.
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