NJDCA awards Watson Institute $155K grant to assess UEZ program

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs announced Thursday it has awarded a $155,000 grant to The John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy at Thomas Edison State University to assess the DCA’s Urban Enterprise Zone program.

The DCA said a UEZ designation provides financial incentives to local businesses in the zone. The incentives can help drive capital improvements, business expansion and employment, and overall improve the quality of life for residents, DCA said.

The Watson Institute’s assessment will measure whether the UEZ program is a viable tool for encouraging economic development in New Jersey. The institute will also provide recommendations on the future build of the program.

“In response to the opportunity, we will focus our capabilities on a comprehensive assessment of the critical factors that impact enterprise zones,” said Barbara George Johnson, executive director of The Watson Institute, who serves as a project lead for the initiative.

“The grant will allow us to redouble our efforts in this valuable endeavor,” she said.

“I look forward to receiving the study findings from the accomplished team at the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy,”” Tracy Fredericks, executive director of the UEZ program at the NJDCA, said. “We are optimistic that the results will provide appropriate data and a clearer picture that will help legislators decide on the direction the program should take in the future.”