EDA Awards Grants to Toms River Businesses

To showcase the rebuilding of small businesses impacted by Superstorm Sandy, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (EDA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michele Brown today delivered Stronger NJ Business Grants to Tardi’s Ristorante Italiano and Pine Rest Motel, both in Toms River.  Over $31.9 million in Stronger NJ Business Grants and Loans has been approved to support 270 businesses in Ocean County; more than 620 businesses statewide have been approved for over $67.8 million in assistance.

“We continue to make significant progress as we work to ensure that our impacted businesses are able to take full advantage of the summer season,” said EDA CEO Michele Brown.

Gaurang Jariwala, owner of Pine Rest Motel and several other motels in Toms River and Seaside, has already observed an uptick in tourism activity. “We’re seeing a jump in bookings now that the weather is nice, and are optimistic that this summer will be much better than last,” Jariwala said.

Anthony Tardi, owner of Tardi’s Ristorante Italiano agrees that the business climate is improving.  “With more year-round residents back in their homes and more seasonal rentals and hotels ready for vacationers, this will surely be a stronger summer than last.  We are excited to see our regular customers returning and hope many new customers will pay us a visit.”

Brown also noted that the EDA hosted two workshops in Ocean County this week to help expedite the process and ensure that additional burdens are not placed on businesses.

“We have found that one-on-one meetings with businesses are the most effective way to move applications forward,” Brown said.  “Our key objective is to finalize all eligible applications as efficiently as possible.”

A workshop was held in Toms River yesterday and today in Surf City.  Since early May, EDA has hosted eleven workshops in some of the hardest hit communities.  Applicants are contacted via telephone prior to the workshops to schedule appointments and are informed of any documentation or information needed to complete their application.  Through these workshops, one-on-one assistance has been provided to over 85 businesses.

The EDA also will host a “Documentation Day” on July 9th at Staples in Brick, during which business owners that have started applications for Stronger NJ Business Grants and Loans can have copies of required documentation made free of charge, by EDA staff, courtesy of Staples.

In addition to support provided to individual businesses, the EDA has recommended the approval of eleven municipalities for Streetscape grants totaling $10 million under the Stronger NJ Neighborhood and Community Revitalization (NCR) program, including a grant for South Toms River.  Also under NCR, the EDA presented seven projects totaling $26 million that were selected to advance to the next phase of the approval process under the Development and Public Improvement (D&I) component of the program, including Atlantic City (two projects), Jersey City, Tuckerton, Little Ferry, Newark, and Perth Amboy. Under this program, $5 million was previously approved for Seaside Park and Seaside Heights for demolition and debris removal following the devastating September 2013 boardwalk fire.

The Stronger NJ programs are funded through New Jersey’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) allocation from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Similar to other Sandy relief programs, there are strict federal eligibility requirements to which the EDA and applicants must comply.

Related Articles: