In New Jersey, brownfields remediation and redevelopment can play a key role in helping communities recover from COVID-19 and prepare for future challenges. To support these goals, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) launched NJEDA Community Revitalization, a suite of solutions designed to support development that transforms underutilized and contaminated spaces into community assets.
This initiative ensures that residents living in communities that have historically suffered from disinvestment, environmental contamination, and health disparities benefit from brownfields redevelopment.
One of the most exciting new programs is the competitive Brownfields Loan Program, which provides low-interest loans of up to $5 million to brownfield redevelopment projects for all aspects of brownfield revitalization. It is one of the only funding sources available to cover pre-construction planning, demolition, asbestos abatement, PCB removal, and lead-based paint remediation.
The NJEDA expects this to reactivate long-stalled projects and create new opportunities for commercial, retail and mixed-use developments. Applications are being accepted until April 13, 2021.
NJEDA is also planning to roll out a new Brownfields Impact Fund financed by the Environmental Protection Agency. This fund will provide low-interest loans to support revitalization of brownfields to provide community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, and commerce.
To ensure communities are able to effectively use these financing tools to achieve their brownfields goals, the NJEDA also works with a variety of partners to provide technical assistance and hands-on guidance through the Community Collaborative Initiative and the NJ Brownfields Assistance Center.
Similar to the way contaminated properties can blight a community for decades, the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us for many years. Fortunately, we have the tools to address both of these problems by using brownfields remediation to provide sustainable, community-supported assets.
NJEDA Community Revitalization is a creative initiative that takes a holistic approach to achieve this goal and inspire similar initiatives around the country.
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