TRENTON, N.J., Feb. 24 -- The New Jersey Economic Development Authority issued the following news release:
In support of Governor Christie's commitment to helping storm-impacted small businesses and communities recover, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today announced that four New Jersey municipalities have been selected by the EDA from the first round of applications for $5 million in grants from the Streetscape component of the EDA-administered Neighborhood and Community Revitalization (NCR) Program. The four selected municipalities are Highlands, Asbury Park, Keansburg and Sea Isle City.
A total of $10 million in grants of $125,000 to $1.5 million per project will be provided for "Main Street" revitalization improvements such as, streetscapes, lighting, sidewalks, facade enhancements, and code-related and other physical upgrades to commercial areas to support the recovery of economic activity in commercial corridors in impacted towns and cities throughout the State.
"New Jersey's downtown districts help to create cohesiveness and viability in our communities," said EDA Chief Executive Officer Michele A. Brown. "Supporting these main street areas, particularly in Sandy-impacted communities, is critical as small businesses continue to rebuild and recover."
Any remaining projects from Round One, which deadlined December 6th, 2013, that reached the minimum scoring threshold have been rolled into Round Two, for consideration for a grant from the remaining $5 million. The deadline for Round Two was January 21st, 2013.
The EDA-approved projects include:
* Highlands - replacement of old and cracked sidewalks and curbs, installation of pedestrian-scale street lights, bike racks, benches and trash receptacles to support the community at large;
* Asbury Park - replacement of old conventional highway style poles and light fixtures with new energy efficient LED lights along its entire boardwalk. In addition to replacing existing lighting, the city will extend lighting on the boardwalk north of Convention Hall;
* Keansburg - a revamp of Main Street and Carr Avenue to reconstruct roadways, build sidewalks and make the downtown safer for pedestrians, with repairs and improvements to the drainage systems greatly improving the economic vitality of the area;
* Sea Isle City - development of the beach-to-bay corridor, in particular development of a streetscape what will enhance the downtown business district, to help the city recover from impacts of the storm.
The four Streetscape projects from Round One will now move on for federally required environmental reviews by the DEP.
Storm-impacted New Jersey municipalities with established traditional business districts are eligible. A 'Main Street' district is defined as a commercial or mixed-use zoned area with a concentration of older or historic buildings within its boundaries. Project evaluation criteria include: location in a HUD-designated impacted county, anticipated completion date, benefit to a low-to-moderate income community, applicant's experience with projects of similar size and scope, and the extent to which the project will enhance the neighborhood and community at large.
Other support provided through the NCR program includes:
* $52.5 million allocated to help advance development and public improvement (D&I) projects with grants and/or loans, up to a maximum of $10 million per project. Under this program, $5 million has been provided to the towns of Seaside Park and Seaside Boro for demolition and debris removal following the fire, leaving $47.5 for D&I projects.
* The EDA awarded five grants of $500,000 each to five Community Development Financial Institutions to fund small business loans in the nine most impacted counties. This represents the full $2.5 million available to CDFIs through the NCR program.
Due to unanticipated demand for grant funding under the D&I component of the program, which far exceeds the availability of funds, the EDA board today approved a review and scoring process to determine recommended project approvals and funding levels. Through this process, priority will be given to applications from low-to-moderate income (LMI) areas that were submitted during the initial six-week application period. If these projects are not fully able to utilize the full $47.5 million, the process also addresses how the remainder of projects will be evaluated and how funding will be allocated.
Following HUD's approval of New Jersey's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Action Plan, in addition to the Stronger NJ NCR program, the EDA administers the $100 million Stronger NJ Business Grant program, which provides grants of up to $50,000 to New Jersey businesses damaged by the storm and the $100 million Stronger NJ Business Loan program, which offers loans of up to $5 million with no interest or principal payments for up to 24 months.
For more information on the Stronger NJ Business programs visit http://application.njeda.com/strongernjbusiness or call EDA's Sandy hotline at 1-855-SANDY-BZ (1-855-726-3929).
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