Murphy to propose Urban Investment Fund to support arts, parks (and other initiatives that create more livable cities)

Fund, which would come from federal dollars, aims to revitalize areas where shifting work patterns have reduced foot traffic, revenue

Gov. Phil Murphy hinted during his State of the State address in January that he intended to do more to make the state’s urban areas more livable — and, thus, more attractive to residents and businesses.

On Tuesday afternoon, during his annual budget address, he’s expected to announce an innovative Urban Investment Fund that aims to do just that.

Murphy will propose using federal money — along with the state’s current and future economic development programs — to create a fund that will support the arts and parks, among other urban infrastructure, ROI-NJ has learned.

More green for green

Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to announce that his state budget proposal will include $40 million to seed a new Green Fund at the Economic Development Authority — a fund the state hopes will attract up to $280 million in private capital to advance projects that would in turn advance the state’s environmental goals.

The Green Fund will complement the $80 million Clean Energy Business Financing Program that EDA plans to create with federal State Small Business Credit Initiative funds.

The goal of the Urban Investment Fund would be to revitalize urban areas where shifting patterns of work and commuting since the pandemic have reduced foot traffic and created ongoing challenges to community vitality.

Grants from the fund would be flexible and responsive to the needs of cities, and could include arts and cultural investments, beautification projects, public safety and streetscape improvements, investments in the pedestrian environment and new open space, and funding to reimagine the use of now-underutilized office space.

Because the initiative will be funded with federal dollars, it is unclear how much money could be appropriated. The fund will be administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

The proposal is one of dozens the governor is expected to make during the budget address, which is expected to start at approximately 2 p.m.

The governor also is expected to propose a specific set-aside for Atlantic City to improve public safety, rebuild distressed housing and provide other social services.