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Christie's Sandy spending plan includes $300M in small-business grants

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Wreckage at the Driftwood beach club, in Sea Bright, after Hurricane Sandy blew through.
Wreckage at the Driftwood beach club, in Sea Bright, after Hurricane Sandy blew through. - ()

Small businesses hurt by Hurricane Sandy will be eligible for a share of up to $300 million in grants, according to Gov. Chris Christie's newly released spending plan for the first installment of federal recovery aid.

The first wave totals $1.8 billion in Community Development Block Grant recovery funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The full plan can be viewed on the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs' website, at www.nj.gov/dca. Christie's office said more money is expected in the coming months.

"This plan puts into motion the specific actions we've been designing to get relief out as quickly as possible to our Sandy-impacted homeowners and businesses — to reconstruct, rehabilitate and elevate homes, and to get over hurdles for our small businesses to get up and running again," Christie said in a statement.

The economic recovery plan is fourfold.

First, the $300 million grant program will help businesses that sustained property damage fund new construction, equipment, mitigation and working capital, among other uses. Businesses will be eligible for up to $50,000 each.

Chris Christie

The governor also unveiled a no-interest loan program for small businesses, with loans ranging from $100,000 to $5 million to help businesses with repair needs not covered by other funding sources.

The plan includes $10 million for neighborhood and community revitalization programs to help rebuild public facilities like sidewalks and streetscapes in commercial areas. That money also can be used for local initiatives like microloan programs.

Finally, to help rebuild the state's tourism sector, Christie said he'll launch a $25 million tourism marketing campaign. In total, that’s up to $500 million on the table.

"With this first round of funding, we will also begin an aggressive marketing effort to let people both in the region and across the country know that New Jersey is rebounding, and that the Jersey Shore will be open for business this summer," Christie said.

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