CHRISTIE ADMINISTRATION EXTENDS SUPPORT TO RECOVERING SMALL BUSINESSES AND COMMUNITIES
Trenton, NJ (June 10, 2014) – Continuing Governor Christie’s commitment to the recovery of businesses and communities in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) today approved loans totaling over $7.4 million for storm-impacted businesses, and also announced that seven applicants were selected to advance under the Development and Public Improvement (D&I) component of the Neighborhood and Community Revitalization (NCR) Program.
“With the official start of summer fast approaching, we are doing all we can to get assistance to our recovering businesses and communities,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Michele Brown. “As I visit with impacted business owners across the state, and particularly along the shore, I remain confident that 2014 will be a great season for all.”
Brown said that the Music Man Singing Ice Cream Shoppe in Lavallette epitomizes the resilience and determination that has defined New Jersey’s business community following the storm.
Located in Lavallette since 2003, the Shoppe was surrounded by over four feet of water following the storm. In addition to losing all of its inventory and equipment, the interior of the building had to be renovated. The Music Man received a Stronger NJ Business grant and working capital loan to support its recovery, as well as its expansion to a second location on the Seaside Heights boardwalk. The Music Man officially opened its doors in Seaside on Saturday.
“After enduring the storm and the challenges that came along with it, we are thrilled to be able to open a second location on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights,” said owner Josephine Sessa-Agliata. “To see Lavallette and Seaside both bounce back has been an inspiration and we look forward to a busy summer serving residents and tourists in both communities.”
Other Stronger NJ Business loans were approved for OptiJob, Inc., a Bay Head-based company that helps employers utilize search engines, social media networks, blogs and mobile devices to attract and hire prospective employees; Wehrlen Brothers Marina, a Brick-based business providing various boat services, including repair, maintenance and winter storage; Kohr’s Frozen Custard The Original in Seaside Heights; Sea Bright-based Northshore Menswear and Womenswear, which offers classic tailored clothing, furnishings, sportswear and shoes; and, Riverside Marina & Yacht Sales, a full service marina in Riverside.
The EDA also presented seven projects that were selected to advance to the next phase of the approval process under the D&I component of the NCR Program. Comprised of three funding components, 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.
In February 2014, the EDA approved an objective review and scoring process to determine project approvals and funding levels. Through this process, priority was given to applications from low-to-moderate income areas that were submitted during the initial six-week application period. Projects were required to fall under at least one of four categories: Catalytic; Transformative Neighborhood; Innovation; or, Recreational, Cultural and Park Land Amenities.
The seven recommended projects will now move on to federally required environmental and historic preservation reviews by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to ensure compliance with applicable federal laws and regulations. Projects include:
- Mansion Avenue Drainage Improvements, Atlantic City – advance a system of storm water runoff improvements, including new piping, pumps and drainage structures;
- Atlantic City Boardwalk, Atlantic City – replace a portion of the Boardwalk from Rhode Island Avenue to Historic Gardner’s Basin;
- Berry Lane Park, Jersey City – transform over 17 acres of brownfields into one of the largest municipally owned parks;
- Borough of Tuckerton, Tuckerton – purchase, renovate and utilize an unoccupied building as the new Municipal Complex;
- Borough of Little Ferry, Lakeview Field, Little Ferry – make various improvements to Lakeview Field, including turfing, lighting and fence replacement;
- Newark Housing Authority, Training Recreation Education Center (TREC), Newark – advance construction of the TREC, which will include an educational/resource wing, as well as a fitness center, meeting space and media center; and,
- City of Perth Amboy, Perth Amboy – implement improvements to the waterfront areas of the city, including fishing piers and a recreational trail.
For more information on the Stronger NJ Business programs, including the complete list of eligibility and eligible uses of funds, visit www.njeda.gov/strongernjbusiness or call EDA’s Sandy hotline at 1-855-SANDY-BZ (1-855-726-3929).