TRENTON, N.J., June 5 -- 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 delivered a check today to Marlin's Cafe, a Stronger NJ Business Grant recipient in Point Pleasant. She also visited Driftwood Motel, another grant recipient, and Susan Wagner Designs, which was recently approved for a Stronger NJ Business Loan, both also in Point Pleasant.
"EDA staff continues to work closely with grant and loan applicants to make sure eligible businesses are getting the help they need," Brown said. "We approved an average 25 grants a week in May and expect this momentum to continue."
To date, over 230 Ocean County businesses have been awarded grants and loans totaling over $23 million.
Marlin's Cafe experienced considerable damage from the storm, but still managed to host several fundraising events featuring local bands to support families displaced by Sandy. "It was wonderful to see the community come together very quickly after the storm to help each other out," said Diane McKenna, who owns Marlin's with her husband Andrew. "We are proud to be part of such a supportive community and are excited to see so many businesses and families back in town."
The seawall outside Driftwood Motel was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, resulting in the flooding of 18 rooms on the motel's first level, shattering windows, damaging walls and floors, and destroying furniture. Owner Sam Ippolito said, "We are happy to put Sandy behind us and are hoping for a very busy summer. The help we have received from the State will help to keep things running until the summer tourist season fully kicks in."
EDA business advisors have been meeting one-on-one with Stronger NJ applicants at workshops in impacted communities 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, and Lavallette, with assistance provided to over 70 businesses. Additional workshops are being scheduled in towns where a need is identified.
Over 540 impacted businesses in New Jersey have been approved for grants and loans totaling $58 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, and $5 million to Seaside Heights and Seaside Park for boardwalk demolition and debris removal.
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).