Municipalities can receive grants of up to $50K to plan for redevelopment of public areas

Asset Activation Planning Grant program aims to fund early-stage work on adaptive reuse of vacant and underutilized assets

Does your municipality have an underutilized public asset? If so, you can get money from the state — up to $50,000 — to help figure out how to redevelop it.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority announced Thursday that is accepting applications for what is called the New Jersey Asset Activation Planning Grant program.

EDA officials said this program will offer grants to communities and stakeholder groups to fund early-stage planning work focused on catalytic redevelopment and the adaptive reuse of vacant and underutilized public assets.

Confused? Here’s more detail, provided by the EDA.

Projects must target:

  • Distressed public assets;
  • Unutilized or underutilized public property;
  • Unutilized public lands.

Note: The lands must be owned by a New Jersey municipality, county, independent authority, bureau, commission or other public body.

Proposed plans may include, but are not limited to:

  • Conceptual design;
  • Feasibility studies;
  • Economic or market analyses.

The projects also should demonstrate a strong connection to the state’s development objectives by:

  • Creating or catalyzing a new business sector or target industry;
  • Driving economic growth and equity;
  • Creating an innovative use for an asset;
  • Expanding access to public transportation or public services;
  • Attracting employers and a diverse, talented workforce;
  • Expanding entrepreneurial opportunities and support local businesses;
  • Improving land use efficiency and sustainability.

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said the program, which has been initially funded with $400,000, makes sense in the post-pandemic world.

“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a fundamental shift in how we approach repurposing distressed and vacant assets,” he said. “Under Gov. Phil Murphy’s leadership, we continue to focus on supporting the creation of vibrant and inclusive cities and neighborhoods.

“Grants awarded through this program will strengthen the awardees’ ability to transform local underutilized public assets, which will lead to equitable growth opportunities in several New Jersey communities.”

Applications for the New Jersey Asset Activation Planning Grant Program are being accepted until Oct. 24. They will be reviewed and scored on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applications will be scored on asset impact, community engagement, previous experience and other factors. A complete list of eligibility and scoring criteria can be found here.

Funding for the program is being provided through the NJEDA’s Economic Recovery Fund.