Art Factory Launches Cart Service in Paterson

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The Art Factory is launching a two-car streetcar service that will cover the Grand Falls and major buildings in the downtown Paterson business district.

The service will begin later this month, said David Garsia, owner of the Art Factory. He said the two cars – one with 22 seats and one with 32 seats – will take visitors to the art factory on Spruce Street to the historic Passaic County Courthouse, Paterson Station, Passaic County Community College, Robert A. Roe Federal Building, Great Falls, City Hall, Downtown Shopping District, and Ellison Street Parking Lot in two loops.

“We will manage them as long as there are visitors,” Garsia said. His company spent $ 100,000 to acquire the two streetcars, he said. He didn’t have a figure for the cost of operations.

The trips will be free for visitors.

The tram service comes at a time when a new mayor, Andre Sayegh, is trying to rename a town primarily known for crime and corruption through tourism.

“We are trying to stimulate tourism in this city,” said Sayegh, who sat in the driver’s seat of the smaller car, wearing a streetcar captain’s hat, to simulate driving the vehicle, at the Art Factory Tuesday afternoon. He proposed creating a Paterson Tourism Board, something the city had decades ago, to promote the city to visitors.

The city has had little success in turning Great Falls visitors into customers for local businesses. But that could change.

“If I have a streetcar that goes straight into the brand new Overlook Park from September and I can tell visitors that you can hop on it and you can see all these other cultural destinations in and around town, I thinks we have a great way to really connect what you do at the Art Factory and what we did at Great Falls, ”said Darren Boch, Super Falls National Park Superintendent.

Boch said visitors feel uncomfortable venturing beyond the surroundings of the Great Falls. Downtown Paterson, a safe walk along the McBride Avenue extension, appears for miles. Market Street, known for having some of New Jersey’s best Peruvian restaurants, just one block from the Great Falls, is a long journey for some concerned visitors.

Garsia needed to establish a streetcar service to take visitors and tenants of his huge arts complex to the garage on Ellison Street. He had to compensate for the lack of parking at his complex by connecting to the parking garage.

Next year, the Paterson Parking Authority plans to roll out a single streetcar to connect the Great Falls to the South Paterson shopping area, filled with ethnic eateries, serving mostly popular Middle Eastern cuisine.

The Paterson Parking Authority had streetcars that offered free rides to buyers until 2012, when a budget crisis killed the service.

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