3rd Ward incumbent councilman William McKoy launched his bid for a fifth term on Thursday night citing 16 years of accomplishments focused on economic development along the Route 20 corridor.
“I’m putting my record on the table,” said McKoy to a packed audience of 200 people at the Bonfire Mofongo House. He read off a list of economic development projects that have happened in the 3rd Ward during his tenure.
“We fought to bring Home Depot to Paterson,” said McKoy. He said after the company setup shop at the location others followed: Lowe’s, Micro Center, Pep Boys, and Reno’s Appliance. He said the city worked with a developer to clean up a contaminated building on McLean Boulevard to allow for the box stores to come into the city.
McKoy said a similar story unfolded on Route 20 near 3rd Avenue. He said mayor Jose “Joey” Torres wanted to sell the contaminated land that existed where there now stands a McDonald’s.
“That was another brownfield site,” said McKoy. He said he approached Torres explaining to the mayor the price for a contaminated piece of land would fetch a far lower amount.
“Don’t you know it’s harder to sell a car that’s not running,” he recalled telling Torres. “If the car isn’t running the value goes down.” He said he convinced Torres apply for a brownfield grant to knock down the building, connect it to two other parcels, and sell a larger plot of land.
“Now today, we have Mamajuana, McDonald’s,” he said. He also took some credit for the Center City Mall development in downtown Paterson on the former site of an empty lot.
McKoy also cited quality of life improvement at the former site of the notorious Alexander Hamilton Housing Projects also known as the Alabama Projects. He said he played a role in demolishing the crime magnet and lobbying the Paterson Housing Authority to apply for HOPE VI grant money which made possible mixed-income homes at the site.
The excited crowd that waited more than three hours to hear the councilman speak cheered at every mentioned project. The attendees paid a minimum of $75, the lowest tier, to support the incumbent’s re-election campaign.
McKoy raised at minimum $15,000 for his re-election bid before event expenses, according to his campaign.
Many of the speakers, who delayed McKoy’s appearance to build up anticipation, took aim at his opponent school board member Lilisa Mimms for calling the incumbent “expired.”
“He’s not up there saying stuff like Donald Trump,” said Shelby Mack, a 3rd Ward resident, without mentioning Mimms’ name.
McKoy also tacitly responded to Mimms’ attack while sharing a lesson he learned from his father on dutifulness and principled conduct to “not to be concerned about the names that people call you.”
The incumbent, who first won election in 2000, received many endorsements at the four-hour long fundraising event from his close friends and political allies.
“I ask you to return me to office for a fifth time which is really the charm because you know what you’re getting,” McKoy told his supporters.