Gov. Phil Murphy and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver on Thursday pledged to restore funding for two neighborhood improvement programs, including one that's been unfunded for nine years.
The 34-year-old Neighborhood Preservation Program, which provides technical assistance and guidance to participating municipalities for a period of three to five years, is to receive an infusion of $2.5 million. It has not been funded since 2009. The program encourages small-business job creation, improves affordable housing access and helps garner business and community investment. NPP has invested more than $56 million in 187 neighborhoods since its inception.
Main Street New Jersey, which uses public-private partnerships to support renewal of historic downtowns, village centers and neighborhood commercial districts, will receive $500,000 in state money.
“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,” Murphy said in a statement. “By reinstating 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.”
Thursday’s news was warmly greeted by Peter Kasabach, executive director of nonprofit New Jersey Future.
"Vibrant downtowns are key to strong, healthy neighborhoods that attract residents, and the Main Street Program has a long track record of success revitalizing downtowns. New Jersey Future is proud to welcome the return of both programs," Kasabach said in a statement. "Now is the time to engage the many stakeholders involved in downtown and neighborhood redevelopment to expand both programs' reach, build new public-private partnerships, and attract new resources to these efforts."