TRENTON, N.J., June 13 -- The New Jersey Economic Development Authority issued the following news release:
To showcase the rebuilding of small businesses impacted by Superstorm Sandy, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority's (EDA) Chief Executive Officer Michele Brown visited Stronger NJ Business grant recipients on Long Beach Island (LBI) yesterday. These visits included delivering a check to Hurley's Inn in Holgate, and checking on the progress of two other grant awardees, Alison's Wonderland in Beach Haven and Surf City-based Fisheads. To date, over 90 businesses on LBI have been awarded Stronger NJ Business Grants and Loans totaling over $4.4 million.
"I am encouraged by the conversations I had with business owners today, as they expressed their optimism at being better positioned to take advantage of the 2014 tourist season," said EDA CEO Michele Brown. "The EDA continues to work hard to get help to all eligible businesses."
Marianne Hurley and her husband Mike, owners of Hurley's Inn, had to renovate the entire first floor of their 10-room motel, located just 75 feet from the beach, after storm surge from Sandy overtook their building. "We were completely overwhelmed when we saw the damage from the storm," said Hurley. "We are so relieved to put this experience behind us and look forward to seeing many new faces this summer."
Carol Townsley, owner of Fisheads in Surf City, which offers clothing, jewelry, home decor and unique gifts, said, "Local businesses seem to be in better shape than last year, and there are more of them. People are ready for this summer after the rough winter."
EDA business advisors were in Surf City today for one-on-one meetings with local Stronger NJ applicants to assist with the completion of their applications. According to Brown, the goal of these workshops is to help expedite the process and ensure that additional burdens are not placed on the businesses.
Applicants are contacted via telephone prior to the workshops to schedule appointments and are informed of any documentation or information needed to complete their application. Since May 6th, workshops have been held in Seaside Heights, Beach Haven, Sea Bright, Ocean City, Atlantic City, Manasquan, Moonachie, Lavallette, and Surf City, with assistance provided to over 70 businesses. Additional workshops are being scheduled in towns where a need is identified.
Alison Bartolo of Alison's Wonderland is encouraged by the activity she has seen since Memorial Day. "People are excited to be getting back to the beach. We have all been through so much, but I am grateful for the support of the Beach Haven community, my family and the state."
To date, over 560 impacted businesses in New Jersey have been approved for grants and loans totaling over $60.3 million.
Additionally, the EDA has recommended the approval of eleven municipalities for Streetscape grants totaling $10 million under the Stronger NJ Neighborhood and Community Revitalization (NCR) program, including a grant for South Toms River. Also under NCR, the EDA has provided $2.5 million in grants to five Community Development Financial Institutions offering recovery loans to Sandy-impacted small businesses.
At Tuesday's Board meeting, the EDA presented seven projects totaling $26 million that were selected to advance to the next phase of the approval process under the Development and Public Improvement (D&I) component of the NCR program, including Atlantic City (two projects), Jersey City, Tuckerton, Little Ferry, Newark, and Perth Amboy. The NCR Program included $52.5 million to help advance D&I projects with grants and/or loans, up to a maximum of $10 million per project. Under this program, $5 million was approved for Seaside Park and Seaside Boro for demolition and debris removal following the devastating September 2013 boardwalk fire, leaving $47.5 million for other D&I projects.
The Stronger NJ 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).