Mar-29-2010 DCA's Main Street New Jersey Program Spurs Business and Job Growth Despite Tough Economy
DCA's Main Street New Jersey Program Spurs Business and Job Growth Despite Tough Economy
TRENTON - The Department of Community Affairs' (DCA) Main Street New Jersey Program in 2009 posted its 20th straight year of business and job expansion despite the difficult economy. The program witnessed net gains of 128 new/expanded businesses and 513 new jobs, and attracted more than $123.5 million in public and private investment in such areas as property purchases, façade improvements and building rehabilitation.
"Governor Christie is committed to boosting business and job growth in New Jersey and Main Street New Jersey is among the most effective programs the State has in advancing this goal," said Acting DCA Commissioner Lori Grifa. "Year in and year out, Main Street New Jersey squeezes as much as it can out of the funding it is given and 2009 was no different. From business and job expansion to façade restorations to building renovations and construction, the program has done remarkable work even in these lean times."
Main Street New Jersey had a $412 return on investment for every state dollar invested in the program in 2009. Local stakeholders and volunteers contributed approximately $2,378,595 worth of free labor toward the improvement of the traditional business districts. Additionally, 32 properties were purchased, 139 façades renovated, 142 buildings rehabilitated, and 13 construction projects started in 2009.
"Main Street New Jersey helps municipalities throughout the state improve their economy, appearance and image with the help of local citizens and resources," said Jef Buehler, Director of the Main Street New Jersey and Improvement District Programs at the DCA. "As the economic viability of a community's downtown area increases, more and more shoppers, visitors and local workers begin to rely on what is offered. That increases revenue to a community, which in turn creates new jobs and business investment."
There were 28 designated communities in the Main Street New Jersey Program in 2009. The list includes Atlantic City, Boonton, Bridgeton, Burlington, Caldwell, Glassboro, Hammonton, Highland Park, Jersey City, Lawrenceville, Maple Shade, Millville, Montclair, Mount Holly, New Egypt, Newton, Ocean City, Orange, Salem, Somerville, South Orange, Vineland, West Orange, Westfield, Wildwood, Woodbury, and Camden's Broadway and Fairview districts.
Established in 1989, Main Street New Jersey is a comprehensive revitalization program that promotes the historic and economic redevelopment of traditional business districts in New Jersey. The program builds on the Main Street Approach™ that was developed by the National Trust's National Main Street Center in 1980 to assist downtown revitalization efforts nationwide. Communities participating in Main Street New Jersey receive valuable technical support and training to assist in improving their Main Streets. The program employs a four-point approach that focuses on:
Building a strong local Main Street organization that is well-represented and funded by stakeholders such as residents, merchants, civic groups, and bankers;
Restructuring the district's economics by engaging in such activities as recruiting new businesses, converting unused space for new uses, and sharpening the competitiveness of merchants;
Enhancing the visual appearance, attractiveness and traffic management of the business district; and
Promoting the district through festivals, retail events and marketing campaign to encourage consumer traffic.
For more information regarding Main Street New Jersey, log on to www.mainstreetnewjersey.com.