What community planning grants are available to New Jersey businesses?
1. The 21st Century Redevelopment Program
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) announced a program that will provide planning grants for communities to develop solutions for repurposing local vacant or underutilized commercial and retail properties.
“The 21st Century Redevelopment Program presents an opportunity for communities to focus on creative ideas for repurposing dormant properties in ways that contribute to the economy rather than drain valuable resources.
Suburban offices and shopping malls that boomed during the 1980s and 1990s have since become empty as a number of demographic and economic trends have resulted in an outmigration of jobs and population. Communities that are home to these empty properties are experiencing loss of tax revenues, costs of maintaining infrastructure and roads around these properties, and a lack of resources to solve these issues.
The 21st Century Redevelopment Program will launch as a pilot round of up to $250,000 in funding available in the form of planning grants of up to $50,000 per recipient. Communities can apply for funding through the 21st Century Redevelopment Program to support ideas that focus on a number of elements including, but not limited to:
• Determining cost-benefits of retrofitting, redeveloping or regreening a property or properties;
• Driving economic growth for the facility and region;
• Creating greater social, economic, and environmental sustainability;
• Expanding affordable and multi-family housing;
• Attracting employers and a diverse, talented workforce
• Expanding entrepreneurial opportunities and supporting local businesses;
• Promoting walkable neighborhoods and improving accessibility and mobility;
• Connecting to public transportation; and
• Improving livability and healthy outcomes for local population.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and will be scored by an evaluation committee based on publicly available scoring criteria. Projects that achieve a minimum score will be recommended for grant funding. Applications will be evaluated on a first come, first serve basis, according to the date the EDA receives the completed application.
As a condition to receiving the grant funding, grantees will be required to participate in at least two events hosted by the EDA to share lessons learned from the planning process to foster a dynamic discussion about repurposing stranded assets and to assist similarly situated municipalities.
2. Innovation Challenge
A second round of funding, through the Innovation Challenge, will be made available for communities for the development of economic development plans to augment their local innovation ecosystems. The decision to make a second round of funding available through the Innovation Challenge comes as a result of a successful pilot round first introduced in July, which resulted in nine communities being awarded planning contracts to help advance a variety of innovative proposals. The nine communities receiving planning contracts through the pilot round were: the City of Bridgeton, the City of New Brunswick, Passaic County, the City of Trenton, Atlantic County, the City of Atlantic City, Camden County, Union Township, and Monmouth County.
Through this second round of the Innovation Challenge, up to $500,000 will be available in the form of grants of up to $100,000 each for plans that may focus on several key areas including, but not limited to:
• Increasing opportunities to grow or expand clusters of dynamic companies;
• Encouraging the growth and expansion of incubators and other innovation-supportive real estate spaces;
• Providing STEM training and connections to careers; and
• Building a culture of entrepreneurship.
Applications for the 21st Century Redevelopment Program and the second round of the Innovation Challenge are expected to be available beginning in November.
To learn more about EDA resources for businesses call EDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.com.