BRIDGETON, N.J. — The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has announced that it is awarding an Opportunity Zone Challenge grant to Cumberland County.
Opportunity Zones were created to encourage long-term investments in distressed urban and rural communities nationwide. The program utilizes tax incentives to promote economic development in Opportunity Zones. Earlier this year, the NJEDA announced that it was accepting competitive applications for limited grant funding for five local programs to encourage Opportunity Zone investment. The grant was open to the 75 New Jersey municipalities and 21 counties where at least one Opportunity Zone census tract exists.
In describing Cumberland County’s approach to the grant application, Freeholder Director Joseph P. Derella said in a press release, “Rather than have our three Opportunity Zone designated cities competing with each other, we decided to join forces and submit a joint application on behalf of Bridgeton, Millville, and Vineland.”
“The freeholders and the mayors of our three cities are very excited to receive this funding, which will be of critical assistance in our ongoing collaborative efforts to revitalize our three pivotal cities,” Derella added.
The grant application required each applicant to designate a strategic partner with whom the applicant would conduct its Opportunity Zone strategic planning efforts.
“Cumberland County has had great success partnering with the Cumberland County Improvement Authority in planning, financing, and managing development projects and will be again leveraging the CCIA’s expertise in developing our strategic plan,” said Derella.
The Opportunity Zone Strategic Plan will be focused on a targeted marketing plan for zone development and the creation of up-to-date redevelopment areas.
“The short term objective of the plan is to gain exposure for Cumberland County’s zones in order to make investors aware of our many assets and advantages,” said Derella.
Under Cumberland County’s Opportunity Zone plan, the CCIA would serve as a one-stop resource center for the county’s opportunity zones. The CCIA will develop a comprehensive marketing plan to showcase potential projects in each of the three cities.
“Our long term goal is create a foundation for investment and growth in our three cities that will expand opportunities for the residents of our cities and their surrounding municipalities while we build our tax base with sustainable high quality development,” said Derella.