$159 MILLION AWARDED TO DATE IN SUPPORT OF RECOVERING SMALL BUSINESSES AND COMMUNITIES
Focus Shifts Toward Resilience Programs
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) announced today that $159 million has been awarded to support small businesses and communities through the Stronger NJ Business programs it was charged with administering following Superstorm Sandy.
“As we mark the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, as a State, it’s important to acknowledge the remarkable progress our small business community and municipalities have made,” said EDA CEO Michele Brown. “As businesses and communities grow stronger, we continue to pursue projects that enhance the State’s resiliency so that we are better prepared for future disasters.”
In addition to funding programs to help businesses rebuild, the EDA is administering two initiatives focused on resilience. Last week, the EDA announced the first 33 approvals under the Retail Fuel Station (RFS) Program, which provides grants that will allow targeted retail fuel stations, on and near evacuation routes, faster and more reliable access to back-up power during an energy emergency. On Monday, the EDA and the NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU) announced the launch of the NJ Energy Resilience Bank (ERB) which will support the development of distributed energy resources at critical facilities throughout the State, enabling them to remain operational during future outages.
To date, more than $94.6 million in recovery grants and loans has been approved for 900 small businesses since the Stronger NJ Business Grant and Loan programs launched in May and July of 2013 respectively.
Recent Stronger NJ Business Grant awards comprise businesses from Sandy-impacted communities in both North and South Jersey, including East Dover Marina in Toms River, Harry’s Lobster House in Sea Bright, USA Tealight, LLC, in Avenel, Daily Custom Cabinetry in Ocean City, Forum Fitness Club in Bayonne, and River West Plumbing and Heating Supply in Weehawkin. Stronger NJ Business Loans include American Maritime in Woodbridge and Royal Baking in Moonachie.
“It has been really incredible to see the way people pulled together to help each other out,” said Richard Weitzel, Owner, East Dover Marina. “We had a very strong summer and hopefully we’ll never have to go through something like Sandy again, but it’s so nice for all of us to know we can count on each other.”
East Dover Marina received a $50,000 grant from the EDA after sustaining major damage from the storm.
Kristin Catlett, the owner of Casa Comida in Long Branch, received a $224,000 Stronger NJ Business Loan for working capital, in addition to a $24,669 Stronger NJ Business Grant.
“We’re in good shape now, despite how bleak things looked just after Sandy,” Catlett said. “Business has been terrific – perhaps even better than before. We feel very fortunate, and grateful to our customers, who have been so supportive over the last two years.”
Under the Stronger NJ Neighborhood and Community Revitalization (NCR) Program, which provides funding for long-term economic revitalization priorities in Sandy-impacted communities, $65 million has been approved to date. At last week’s EDA Board meeting, Development and Public Improvement (D&I) projects were approved in recovering municipalities, including: Brigantine, Cape May, Point Pleasant, Beach Haven, Township of Lacey, Somers Point, Borough of Tuckerton, Keyport, Carlstadt, and Elizabeth, totaling $52.5 million.
Also under the NCR program, $10 million was approved for Streetscape projects, and $2.5 million was provided to Community Development Financial Institutions for loans to impacted small businesses.
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 Superstorm 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 Stronger NJ Business or call EDA’s Sandy hotline at 1-855-SANDY-BZ (1-855-726-3929).