TRENTON, N.J., May 7 -- The New Jersey Economic Development Authority issued the following news release:
Demonstrating the Christie Administration's commitment to the recovery of small businesses in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today announced significant progress since April 1st in the award of Stronger NJ Business Grant, Loan, and Neighborhood and Community Revitalization (NCR) funds to impacted businesses and communities throughout the state.
Since April 1st, 103 businesses have been approved for grants and loans totaling over $12.1 million. Additionally, EDA recommended the approval of seven municipalities for $5.2 million in Streetscape grants under the NCR program.
"Sandy-impacted businesses and communities all over the state are still in need of assistance and we are happy to be able to offer targeted support to get them back on track," said Michele Brown, EDA Chief Executive Officer. "Through the Stronger NJ programs, we have approved over $66.5 million to support ongoing recovery efforts, and we continue to move applications forward as quickly as possible."
Recently approved grants include businesses from impacted communities in both north and south Jersey, such as Seaside Waverunners in Seaside Heights, Acme Beach and Bike in Beach Haven Gardens, Edward's Steakhouse in Jersey City, Galvanic Printing & Plate Company in Moonachie, and Green Cove Marina in Brick.
Galvanic Printing, which has been serving customers since 1910, lost expensive equipment to flooding, including three of its four vehicles and a forklift. Following the storm, its printing presses and other equipment valued at over $1 million were standing in more than two feet of water.
"Thanks to help from our friends, we were able to get one of our presses up and running within a week, before our power was even restored," said John Moss, President, Galvanic Printing. "It has taken some time to recover, but with the support of our community, our bank, and the EDA, we're getting there."
Green Cove Marina experienced extensive damage to its docks, offices, boats and equipment as a result of the storm. According to Owner Karen Davidson, "Our customers and the Brick community at large have been very supportive since the storm, and now our grant from the EDA will help us to start the summer in a stronger position."
A combination of loans totaling $2 million was approved in April to support Shake Shoppe Arcade, an arcade and concession shop located on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights that experienced significant damage. Assistance includes a working capital loan up to $142,750 and a construction loan up to $988,743 under the Stronger NJ Business Loan Program, as well as a direct EDA loan of $894,974 to refinance an existing mortgage and provide additional working capital. Per U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requirements, the construction loan is contingent on a successful environmental and historical review by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Family-owned By the Sea Too was approved for a Stronger NJ working capital loan of up to $198,300. In addition to other damage, the Ortley Beach-based restaurant lost its outdoor enclosed porch in the storm, resulting in the loss of 50-percent of its seating capacity last season.
The EDA also recommended that seven municipalities advance to the next phase of the approval process under the Streetscape component of the NCR Program. The EDA advanced four municipalities under the first round in February.
The Streetscape component of the NCR Program was allocated $10 million to provide grants of $125,000 to $1.5 million per project to support "Main Street" revitalization improvements in impacted communities. Projects were selected based on objective scoring criteria.
The municipalities selected from Round One include Highlands, Asbury Park, Keansburg and Sea Isle City. The projects under Round Two that would utilize the remainder of the $10 Million allocation include South Toms River, Hoboken, Long Branch, Atlantic City, Neptune, Margate and Belmar. All projects move on to federally required environmental and historic preservation reviews by the DEP to ensure compliance with applicable federal laws and regulations.
With the majority of outstanding applications requiring action from applicants, the EDA is inviting applicants to one-on-one meetings with business advisors in their respective communities. This will help expedite the process and ensure that additional burdens are not placed on the businesses. The workshops are designed to help businesses complete their applications. The EDA expects to hold workshops twice per week throughout May and into June, in Sandy-impacted municipalities where there are a large number of pending applications.
Applicants are contacted via telephone prior to the workshops to schedule appointments and inform them of any documentation or information needed to complete their application. During the first workshop, which took place yesterday in Seaside Heights, business advisors met with eight local businesses to help with completing their applications.
The Stronger NJ Business programs are funded through New Jersey's Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) allocation from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Similar to other Sandy relief grant programs, there are strict federal eligibility requirements to which the EDA and applicants must comply.
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)