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Sandy Recovery Grant Program Rolls Out [AUDIO]

The third and final assistance plan from the Economic Development Authority (EDA) will make $75 million available for neighborhoods and business communities to recover after Superstorm Sandy.

Superstorm Sandy business
Ortley Beach (Mark Wilson, Getty Images)

The Stronger NJ Neighborhood and Community Revitalization Program focuses on main street revitalization, and public improvement and community development projects. The money originates from the $60 billion in federal money awarded to New Jersey and its neighboring states for Sandy recovery.

“Businesses still don’t have the financial wherewithal for new signage for new sidewalks – for lighting that could assist the entire business district in sprucing up and just looking better,” said Michelle Brown, executive officer of the EDA.

Applications for the program will start being accepted Sept. 4, and the EDA has sent out 15,000 letters to businesses advising them to apply. The applications will be accepted for six weeks and then on a rolling basis, but there’s no guarantee the money will last that long.

“Eligible to apply are municipalities, private business concerns, business improvement districts and nonprofits,” said Brown.

The money will be available largely as grants, though low interest loans will be offered for some neighborhood catalyst projects. The grants will also cover recreational and park projects.

“So we wanted to make sure we could help with those smaller neighborhood projects as well as areas looking for more recreational, cultural, and parks projects to be developed,” said Brown.

Recreation and park programs are eligible for a maximum of five million in federal money while neighborhood and catalyst project can receive a max of 10 million. Brown said the vast majority of projects will be nowhere near that much, allowing more applicants to qualify for at least some money.

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