NEWARK - Newark residents voted to approve a referendum that would allow a new waterfront park in the Brick City.

The approval came with a property tax increase; 2 cents will be added to every $100 of assessed property value. Many residents say they don’t mind.

“I’ve lived here 18 years and I’ve waited for this to happen,” says Newark resident Laurie Murphy. “It’s just a dream.”

Murphy says that she often takes advantage of Newark’s Riverfront Park. She says the city needs the green space, especially for the amount of children that live in Newark.

The tax hike is expected to raise more than $24 million. It will fund the expansion of the park, an estimated 15.5 acres.

“It will primarily be passive green space to talk, ride bikes and an opportunity for performance space,” says Otis Rolley, president and CEO of Newark Community Economic Development Corp.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield provided a private donation to also help fund the new space. Newark officials say the next step will be to find a developer. Construction is expected to begin by spring and the park is expected to open by 2018.