EDA pilot program, funded by feds, will bring relief to 6 urban municipalities

Urban Investment Fund Grant Program to provide up to $7M to support approved recovery efforts in Camden, New Brunswick, Newark, Passaic, Paterson and Trenton

Trenton, New Jersey

Six urban municipalities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic may be getting more assistance from the state.

On Thursday, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority announced a pilot program that will provide grants of up to $7 million for the revitalization of targeted commercial corridors in six of New Jersey’s urban municipalities:

  • Camden;
  • New Brunswick;
  • Newark;
  • Passaic;
  • Paterson;
  • Trenton.

The Urban Investment Fund Grant Program, first proposed by the governor in his Fiscal Year 2024 budget, will enable the EDA to provide grants to eligible municipalities to implement a revitalization strategy to respond to decreased foot traffic and revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic by helping cities enhance vitality.

The municipalities of Camden, New Brunswick, Newark, Passaic, Paterson and Trenton, all ranked within the Top 5% of commuter-adjusted population and municipal distress based on the 2023 Municipal Revitalization Index, are eligible to apply for a minimum of two projects. Approved grants may not exceed 80% of total project costs for eligible uses, including building rehabilitation projects, building reuse studies and public space use improvements. Funding for the program was provided through American Rescue Plan State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

To be eligible, municipalities had to be in the Top 5% of commuter-adjust population and the Top 5% of the Municipal Revitalization Index (which looks at eight indicators to determine the state’s official ranking of distress.

The pilot program will be financed with more than $38 million in federal funding.

Gov. Phil Murphy obviously was pleased by the announcement.

“New Jersey’s resiliency post-pandemic relies on our ability to create an environment where businesses can thrive, particularly in our urban communities, where shifts in work patterns have had a more profound impact,” he said.

“This new pilot program approved today will take advantage of federal funding to rehabilitate some of the hardest-hit municipalities in the Garden State, promoting sustainable economic recovery.”

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan said the organization is eager to get more aid to towns.

“The NJEDA has taken the lead in supporting Gov. Phil Murphy’s goal of investing in communities hit hard by the pandemic, to build world-class, economically thriving cities and towns across the state,” he said. “The Urban Investment Fund Grant Program will promote strong and equitable economic recovery in vital commercial corridors and stimulate local economies with impactful investment.”

The program will provide grants of up to $7 million to municipalities with commuter-adjusted populations of over 100,000 people, and up to $5.7 million for municipalities with commuter-adjusted populations under 100,000 people.

For more information on eligibility requirements and funding uses, click here.