Proposed Funding for DCA Initiatives to Breathe New Life into New Jersey’s Communities
Montclair - Governor Phil Murphy and Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver today announced plans to restore funding for two of the Department of Community Affairs’(DCA) innovative neighborhood improvement programs – Main Street New Jersey (MSNJ) and the Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP) – to strengthen the economic vigor of New Jersey’s downtown areas and to encourage private investment in some of the state’s hard-pressed communities. Governor Murphy’s proposed budget provides $3 million for these programs – $500,000 for MSNJ and $2.5 million for NPP.
“For many years, New Jersey proudly had two programs that fostered economic growth partnerships – Main Street New Jersey and the Neighborhood Preservation Program. After decades of success helping communities throughout the state, both programs unfortunately were neglected during the previous administration,” said Governor Murphy. “By re-instating funding for these critical initiatives, we are demonstrating our responsibility as government officials to empower and strengthen our communities with the economic tools they need to ensure we are building an economy that lifts all families and residents.”
“Governor Murphy and I are committed to partnering with local communities to help restore and revitalize neighborhoods and downtowns throughout New Jersey,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. “The resurgence of Main Street NJ and the Neighborhood Preservation Program brings visibility to communities, encourages small business job creation, improves residents access to decent and affordable housing, and invites greater business and community involvement in economic development.”
“These programs assist municipalities in bolstering their business districts and neighborhoods,” said Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin. “I applaud Governor Murphy and Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver for their commitment to strong communities. This is the right investment for the people of New Jersey.”
“Preserving and restoring our neighborhoods enables local communities in Essex and Passaic Counties that I proudly represent to thrive,” said Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake. “Governor Phil Murphy and Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver’s investment into the Main Street New Jersey (MSNJ) and Neighborhood Preservation Programs (NPP) will revitalize our neighborhoods, strengthening connections in our communities and creating new opportunities for the people of New Jersey.”
“Thriving downtowns are critical to the economic health and social vitality of nearly every community in New Jersey. A vibrant downtown not only attracts visitors and small businesses, but symbolizes the local quality of life and strength of the community. The Main Street New Jersey (MSNJ) Program brings local residents, officials, and businesses together to access new ideas and resources, and create a vision for revitalizing their central business districts. New Jersey Community Capital is proud to be a partner in the revival of a number of MSNJ communities. We have seen, firsthand, the power and impact of the program and commend Governor Murphy, Lt. Governor Oliver, and their team for restoring MSNJ,” said Wayne Meyer, President/CEO of NJCC.
“Vibrant downtowns are key to strong, healthy neighborhoods that attract residents and the employers who want to hire them. The Main Street Program has a long track record of success revitalizing downtowns, and New Jersey Future is proud to welcome the return of both programs,” said New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach.
Main Street New Jersey (MSNJ)
The resumption of funding for MSNJ in the amount of $500,000, will enable the State to once again support the renewal of historic downtowns, village centers, and neighborhood commercial districts by utilizing a comprehensive stakeholder-driven approach based on public-private partnerships. MSNJ, which is part of the National Main Street Program, was established in 1989 and operated until 2017.
From 1990 to 2017, State-supported MSNJ efforts have leveraged more than $1.2 billion of private reinvestment in Main Street districts. For the last two decades, MSNJ districts created a net gain of 10,301 full-time jobs in 2,560 new and expanded businesses. Additionally, MSNJ local districts have supported more than 6,000 building preservation, improvement and construction projects, resulting in more than 1,700 downtown residential units at all affordability levels.
Additionally, Westfield in 2004 and Montclair in 2015 won the coveted national Great American Main Street Award for their outstanding downtown revitalization work. In 2015, the MSNJ program itself won the national Innovation on Main Street Award.
Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP)
The infusion of $2.5 million for NPP will be the first time the program is funded since 2009. The program, which operated for 34 years, provides technical assistance and guidance to participating municipalities for three to five years.
Municipalities involved in NPP are responsible for maintaining dedicated community development offices and staff to facilitate preservation activities and engage residents. DCA makes resources available to encourage small business job creation, improve affordable housing access, and invite greater business and community investment.
Over its 34-year history, NPP invested more than $56 million in 187 vulnerable neighborhoods in 20 counties. NPP has operated in densely populated urban areas like Newark, Jersey City, and Paterson as well as in suburban communities and rural centers like Collingswood Borough, Salem City, and Berlin Township.