Gov. Phil Murphy and state Sen. Vin Gopal visited the Asbury Park Boardwalk to highlight a $100 million proposal in the governor’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget to support the launch of the new Boardwalk Fund program.
Aimed at strengthening boardwalk infrastructure along the shore, the Boardwalk Fund will invest in the overall rehabilitation, resilience and revitalization of its attractions, which serve as a boon for tourism and enhance the economies of the Shore communities and the state as a whole.
“When I imagine a summer in New Jersey, it’s hard to do so without thinking of our beautiful Shore towns, especially our boardwalks, in which I can recall many fond memories with my loved ones,” Murphy said. “The Boardwalk Fund will help us ensure that these wooden main streets, which are the backbones of their communities, remain a place for families to continue making memories at the Jersey shore for generations to come.”
The Boardwalk Fund will utilize American Rescue Plan COVID State & Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, which have been dedicated by the governor and the Legislature to a wide array of vital economic recovery and revitalization projects across New Jersey.
The application process will be managed by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Office of Disaster Recovery and Mitigation, which will issue a Request for Proposals to Shore municipalities.
To ensure that the Boardwalk Fund addresses the most critical and necessary capital needs along the Shore, funding will be prioritized to Shore municipalities facing financial distress and to projects that rehabilitate or improve the resilience of existing structures.
Using environmentally friendly and state-of-the-art materials for these projects is a critical component to secure safer, longer-lasting and more resilient boardwalk infrastructure. Projects that add new boardwalks or allied amenities, such as recreation areas, services or retail facilities, will also be eligible for funding.
“The varied personalities of Jersey Shore towns — and their boardwalks — are hallmarks of New Jersey, drawing millions of visitors who contribute to the energy and economy of these communities,” Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who is also the DCA commissioner, said. “By partnering with municipal and county governments through the Boardwalk Fund, we are investing in the future of our Shore communities and ensuring they remain a vibrant destination for generations to come.”
Murphy, Gopal (D-Ocean Twp.) and Asbury Park Mayor John Moor visited three small businesses along the Boardwalk to further solidify the importance of this program as the summer tourist season approaches.
“As state senator in a district that has a number of Shore towns, I know the importance of a viable and safe boardwalk,” Gopal said. “As we look towards the summer, we know we will see residents coming from across the state to take advantage of the beach and boardwalk, and they will be sustaining and empowering the local businesses. I am excited to see more funding coming to our district through the Boardwalk Fund.”
“The boardwalks are the lifeblood of many of our Shore communities and the Jersey Shore belongs to all of us,” state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) said. “It is part of the state’s identity and a part of the lives of so many. The Boardwalk Fund is an ongoing investment that will help local communities reduce the expenses of maintaining their boardwalks, support local businesses and keep the fond memories of our Shore experiences alive.”
“It is an honor for our town to be named as having one of the Top 25 beaches in the entire country by Travel + Leisure, and we had the best governor and best senator show up to Asbury Park today — which is even better,” Moor said. “Their boardwalk initiative will help revitalize New Jersey’s boardwalks, which are such an important part of our state and bring in many tourists throughout the summer. This has been a great kickoff to what will be one of the best summer seasons yet.”