By HILLARY CLARKEAssociated PressAURORAURORSVILLE, N.J. (AP) For years, the town of Aurora in northern New Jersey was a refuge for blue-collar workers who flocked to its beaches and beacheside parks.
Today, its residents, the retirees, the unemployed and the young have fled.
Its streets and its waterways are no longer safe.
Its water supply is a patchwork of broken pipes and cracked rock.
Its old homes are a blight.
And it has no idea how much damage it has already done.
Flowers have bloomed across the town in the past month, but they are hardly a sign of hope.
It’s not just the town that has been affected.
In the town where most of the homes are located, hundreds of people are homeless, and many have fled to other parts of the state.
For a generation that has grown up here, Aurora has been the lifeblood of the city.
But now, its once vibrant community is a ghost town.
Its residents, who make up a third of the town’s residents, have lost jobs, homes and, increasingly, their pensions, a trend that is predicted to increase as the economy falters.
Some of Aurora’s residents have said they’ve never looked so empty.
Flower beds in the summer, but now its not a lot of people coming out.
We just have to live with this.
We’re in the dark.
The water has gone from being green to a muddy brown.
The town of more than 5,500 people is one of the last places in New Jersey where you can walk in a town and see a full house of flowers.
For most of its history, Aurora was a blue-ribbon suburb of Hoboken, New Jersey.
It’s now a community of about 50 families that have grown up around one of America’s most important economic engines.
But in the 1980s, Aurora became a ghost townsite.
The water became too murky to walk through and the roads were impassable.
The city shut down its public schools.
In 2010, the state’s economic development agency said Aurora would lose at least $2 billion in economic output by the end of the decade.
The city’s population fell from 6,000 to about 2,000.
But the economy stayed the same.
There were no stores, no businesses.
There was no real investment, no new factories.
And there was no way to sell it all.
Florence Schatz, a retired teacher who moved to Aurora from the Bronx, was one of many who saw it that way.
“When I was a little girl, my grandparents moved to the city and started a small business selling produce and candy,” she said.
“And now we have this little town and we’re all living here.”
Aurora was supposed to be the town people would go to.
But, with no jobs and little hope of getting back, people have fled the city for safer, more affordable options.
The number of Aurora residents who have moved away from the city dropped from 1,500 to about 500 last year, according to the New Jersey Department of Community Development.
It was the first time in more than a decade that the number of people who had left the city was below 10,000, a decline of more 25 percent from 2010, according a report from the New York State Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
The exodus has made Aurora’s water, electricity and sewer systems virtually worthless, with most of those who stayed out of town finding jobs elsewhere.
In the summer of 2017, the department of development began asking residents what they were doing with their property.
They said they were using the water.
They were using water pipes, water fixtures and landscaping.
Many residents also reported that they were looking for jobs.
They had been laid off from their jobs and the jobs were moving away.
One Aurora resident, who asked to remain anonymous because he was fearful of retaliation from the town, said he had been told that he would have to find a new job in order to keep his home and his business.
Another Aurora resident said he was being laid off because the town was cutting water service to its customers.
The state has started working with the community to try to find ways to fix what has become a problem for the town.
The state has asked Aurora residents to submit a request to the town and the department for a temporary loan, which would pay for repairs to the water systems, sewer lines and street lights, as well as for repairs on the property.
The department is working with Aurora to create a “community plan” to help solve the problem, said Christopher Stauber, the city’s economic and economic development administrator.
“We are trying to make sure that people know that this town is a place where people can go and