DCA Program Promotes Historic & Economic Redevelopment of Traditional Business Districts

TRENTON, N.J. –Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Acting Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III today announced the newest members to join the Main Street Program (MSNJ). The MSNJ communities include Tenafly, Milford, Millburn, Nutley, Perth Amboy (Amboy Ave.), Red Bank, Hightstown, Beachwood, Camden, Harrison Township (Mullica Hill), and Sea Isle City. The 11 new candidates have been selected to be in the Associate Program of MSNJ created this year.

“The stakeholder-drive approach of the Main Street Program facilitates locally-based economic sustainability of traditional historic business districts in New Jersey.,” stated Acting Commissioner Constable. “The new communities that joined the program are taking the necessary steps to redevelop their towns and to restore pride in their residents.”

Main Street New Jersey is a comprehensive revitalization program that promotes the historic and economic renewal of traditional business districts in New Jersey. The communities that have been accepted into the program receive valuable technical support and training to assist in restoring their main streets as centers of community and economic activity. MSNJ, Main Street New Jersey, uses a four element system to ensure the most successful outcomes, which include organization, economic restructuring, design, and promotion. The program overall helps with municipalities rehabilitations of historic preservations, economic restructuring, downtown revitalization, and improve management.  

“The new Associate tier is yet another option MSNJ offers to encourage towns to join the Main Street  Program, said Jef Buehler, Director of the Main Street New Jersey and Improvement District Programs at the DCA. “We look forward to working with the 11 new towns to provide the technical assistance and training needed to restore and enhance their ‘Main Streets’ as centers of community activity and commerce.”

Every two years the DCA accepts applications and designates selected communities to join the program. These communities receive valuable technical support and training to assist in restoring their Main Streets.  Communities can apply to the designated Traditional or Partner programs or be selected into the new Associate program.

While not a fully designated Main Street program, communities must meet the requirements of the National Trust Main Street Center. The new Associate Program offers an opportunity for communities that are just starting out with downtown revitalization efforts, or that may wish to eventually utilize the Main Street Approach™.  A core feature of the service is access to training by state and national downtown development experts. The new tiered program provides selected communities with the opportunity to learn about the best practices in the field and to network with peers from around the state.

The benefits of entering the Main Street program include protecting and strengthening the existing tax base, as well as, the focus on organization, development, growth and awareness in the initial year. If the associate programs show signs of success the communities will have an opportunity to move up to traditional designation where higher levels of local assistance are available including design/architectural services and technical assistance to individual businesses with the Main Street district.

Applications are competitive and require evidence of strong public and private partnership.  Applicants qualify for the program based on how well they fit into the following six categories: Public and Private Sector Understanding, Cooperation, & Financial Capacity; Local Organizational Readiness; Physical & Historic Character of Core Built Environment & Efforts to Preserve and Enhance; Need for Downtown Revitalization and Potential for Effecting Positive Change; Municipal Government Profile/Past Efforts; Community Profile.

For more information regarding Main Street New Jersey, call 609-633-9769, or log on to http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/msnj.html.