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Leonia Aims To Get Redevelopment On Track In Time For Light Rail

Leonia officials hope the proposed light rail fuels redevelopment.
Leonia officials hope the proposed light rail fuels redevelopment. Photo Credit: Facebook

LEONIA, N.J. — Leonia officials are exploring plans for multi-family homes, retail space, senior housing and more in the part of town serviced by a proposed light rail station, Mayor Judah Zeigler said.

The mayor's Advisory Committee on Economic Development is targeting redevelopment options for what he said is the "under-utilized" western end of town near Overpeck Park, along which part of a 9-mile Bergen-Hudson light rail will run.

Plans call for a Leonia stop at the intersection of Fort Lee Road and Station Parkway, just east of the park.

The committee, which held its first meeting last Thursday, hopes to create a mixed-use environment , Zeigler said. Twenty-two properties initially being eyed include a former gas station, a car wash and a dry cleaners.

"The plan for the route is basically done and the county executive [Jim Tedesco] has identified making that reality as one of his highest priorities," the mayor said. "We’re obviously thinking about it from the perspective of how we can get ahead of it."

The Northern Branch Corridor Project would extend the rail from the Tonnelle Avenue station in North Bergen to Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, with proposed stations in Fairview, Ridgefield, Palisades Park, Leonia and Englewood.

The 33-minute trolley ride from Englewood to Hoboken would "fundamentally change the community," Zeigler said.

"[Busses] get to Lincoln Tunnel and that's where they stop," the mayor said. "The light rail gives us a wealth of options and...to a large extent it will renew the community and position it as a more attractive one."

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